The accused killer of Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace will not stand trial until next February, a judge ruled on Monday.
It’s yet another delay in a series for David Machado to answer in court that he allegedly murdered Deputy Wallace during a traffic stop at Fox Grove Fishing Access northeast of Hughson on Nov. 13, 2016. The deadly shooting occurred when Wallace pulled over Keyes resident Machado because the white Dodge Caravan he was driving had been reported stolen from Machado’s mother six days prior.
Nearly one year ago Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff ruled that there is ample evidence to proceed with the murder case against Machado. Machado has entered concurrent pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
This week, Machado’s attorney, Marcus Mumford, motioned to continue the case until next year saying he is not prepared to go to trial. Mumford also told the judge that doctor Alan Abrams expected to testify regarding Machado’s insanity plea needs more time to review his case. Judge Zeff said he wanted to deny the motion but that doing so was was inappropriate based on law and that having an unprepared attorney could set up Machado to later appeal on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel.
The case against Machado was placed on hold for two years after he was declared mentally incompetent and was treated at a state mental facility to restore his competency to stand trial. Another delay came when his publicly appointed attorney died suddenly. His second attorney quit, adding more delay. Mumford has had six months to work on the case.
Machado’s trial was to begin Nov. 9 after the judge denied Mumford’s request to hold more competency hearings. Prosecutor John R. Mayne told the judge that Machado does not qualify for the insanity defense as four experts have already found he is mentally competent.
The election could result in yet another trial delay because Mayne is running for judge and Mumford has asked to be considered for his replacement if Mayne defeats opponent Kenneth Hara. If Mayne is sworn in as a judge, the case would be picked up by other prosecutors with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. However, if Mumford succeeds a Judge Mayne then Machado would need a new attorney.
Machado was arrested the day of the shooting in Lindsay where he tried to steal her car. He ran but was found by police in an alley. 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 who left behind a wife in Hughson 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.