David Ragsdale

PROVO — The guardian ad litem for two young boys left without parents when their father was jailed for allegedly shooting their mother in an LDS church parking lot wants to exclude that father from any financial gain on the mother's half of the family's house.

Attorney William M. Jeffs, serving as guardian ad litem for the Ragsdale children, recently filed a complaint to sever joint tenancy.

In this case, David and Kristy Ragsdale had real property, minor children and now there's a pending murder charge against David Ragsdale in 4th District Court.

Current Utah law allows a surviving spouse to get all the property both parties owned. However, "if you've committed a disqualifying homicide, the survivor does not receive the property," Jeffs said.

"We just want what's in Kristy's name so her half does not transfer into (David's) name," Jeffs said. "(I'm) attempting to protect (the boys') interest in their mother's estate."

Jeffs has not addressed anything related to David Ragsdale's half of the house, as details surrounding the estate of Kristy Ragsdale have not been finalized. According to Utah County tax records, the 2008 market value of the home was more than $600,000.

As the legal battle over homes and custody continues, the criminal case drags slowly along.

David Ragsdale was in a Provo courtroom Wednesday, where his attorney, Greg Skordas, asked for another continuance.

"We're having an evaluation done (and) it is not finished," Skordas told Judge Claudia Laycock. "I know it's been a long time, David's getting frustrated, but we can't proceed until that's done."

The private psychological review was instigated by Skordas. It was not requested by the court or prosecutors but neither Laycock nor the state had a problem with waiting until April 9. "I wouldn't expect a case of this magnitude to be done in a month anyway," Laycock said.

Meanwhile, David Ragsdale's family said they believe his actions were the result of drugs prescribed "like candy" by a careless nurse practitioner.

"Myself, along with many others believe that David Ragsdale is innocent," sister Tamara Ragsdale said to the media gathered outside the courtroom. "He was not conscious when this tragic act was committed. At the time he was on seven different medications carelessly prescribed by a nurse practitioner ... which were not being closely monitored."

The medicines included Percocet, Ritalin, Doxepin, two forms of testosterone — all of which were causing Ragsdale severe problems months before the shooting.

But he kept taking them — some of the drugs he had been on for years; some for months — because all the bottles warned against suddenly stopping.

He had an appointment to talk with the nurse practitioner the following Tuesday, but he never made it, Tamara Ragsdale said. The shooting was that Sunday. The family said they are considering legal action against the nurse practitioner.

David Ragsdale is still struggling with severe withdrawals in the jail and recently released a statement about the "hell" he is going through, Tamara Ragsdale said.

"Words cannot describe how incredibly sorry I am for the death of my wife Kristy," David Ragsdale says in the statement. "I want the Palizzi family and everyone to know that I would do anything to bring her back, even if it meant giving up my own life."

Family members and friends of Kristy Ragsdale attended the hearing as well and made a quick statement.

"We just love Kristy so much and we miss her a great deal," said Carrie Peters, Kristy's cousin. "We're just hoping through justice and forgiveness to find safety and closure."

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com