David Machado, the 37-year-old man who allegedly gunned down Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Dennis Wallace before fleeing the area to carjack a driver in Keyes and then attempted thefts in Lindsay before his Nov. 13 capture, was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial.
On Monday Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff declared that Machado is not mentally capable of helping his court-appointed attorney in defending himself against the charges. The judge made the decision based on a forensic psychologist's evaluation of the suspect, but did say that Machado understands court proceedings. He was ordered back into court on Feb. 14 to hear what kind of treatment he will receive in an attempt to restore his mental competency.
Machado is accused of killing Wallace after he was pulled over in a stolen car at the Fox Grove Fishing Access south of the Tuolumne River and just east of Geer Road.
On Nov. 15 Machado made his first court appearance to enter a not guilty plea to all the charges against him. At that time turned to look at his two family members in the front row of the courtroom galley and was told by the judge to turn back around and face front, to which Machado replied: "You don't want them to see what you done to me." Machado's face did not bear any marks or bruises.
He is charged with murder with a special circumstance of killing a peace officer. The charge also carries two enhancements - one for acting with premeditation and the other for using a firearm. Machado is also charged with robbery in the first degree with an enhancement of using a firearm, felony carjacking with an enhancement of using a firearm, and a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a gun. All the charges carry an additional enhancement in that Machado was out on bail for a previous charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Given the murder charge with the special circumstance, Machado could possibly be facing the death penalty. Deputy District Attorney John Mayne, who is prosecuting the case for the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office, said the decision has not been made at this time on whether or not they will be seeking the death penalty.
Machado is being held without bail for the murder and the other charges.
Wallace arrived at the Fox Grove Fishing Access at 1000 Geer Road in Hughson in a marked patrol car and in his uniform. At 8:25 a.m. Wallace called into dispatch about a suspicious van at the scene and was quickly informed that the vehicle had been reported stolen and that the suspect in the theft was believed to be Machado, who also was believed to be armed, according to the sheriff's department. Wallace made a request for a second unit to come to the scene.
"Within seconds he was murdered - executed," said Sheriff Adam Christianson.
Dispatch tried to make contact with Wallace multiple times, but got no response. Sheriff's Deputy Christian Torres out of Waterford arrived at the scene and found Wallace on the ground shot. Lifesaving efforts were initiated and Wallace was rushed to a nearby hospital, but medical personnel were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead.
Christianson said Wallace was shot twice in the head.
"The gun was in direct contact with his head when it was pulled twice," Christianson said.
The suspect and the stolen van were both gone from Fox Grove. A message was broadcast to all area law enforcement agencies alerting them to the incident, information was provided identifying the suspect and the vehicle related to the initial investigation.
Law enforcement learned a person in Keyes had been carjacked at 8:40 a.m. Sunday and the individual positively identified Machado as the carjacker. It's unknown if the individual suffered any injuries during the carjacking. The vehicle Machado carjacked was a 2009 white Kia Rio.
The manhunt for Machado spread through the county and information, including his picture, distinctive tattoos, and the stolen vehicle were shared with law enforcement around the state.
Around noon in Lindsay a woman in a convenience store was approached by a man, later identified as Machado, who attempted to forcibly take her car keys from her. The woman fought back and was able to call 911, prompting Machado to flee the scene on foot, according to the sheriff's department.
Lindsay Police located Machado around 12:33 p.m. Sunday. Machado had fled to a residential alleyway, where he was contacted by Lindsay Police officers and surrendered.
At the time of his arrest Machado had a bench warrant out because he missed a court appearance on the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Wallace was a 20-year-veteran of the sheriff's department and leaves behind a wife and family. He lived in Hughson and helped with community soccer games and youth football for the area. He had previously been assigned to the Salida area and the courthouse before his assignment in Hughson.