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David Ragsdale

PROVO — A man accused of fatally shooting his wife in an LDS church parking lot is looking for a new attorney to defend him.

David Ragsdale, 35, who was arrested Jan. 6 after witnesses said he gunned down his wife, Kristy, in a church parking lot in Lehi, recently asked his criminal attorney, Greg Skordas, to step down from the case.

Skordas said he received a kind letter from Ragsdale, who is being held in the Utah County Jail on no bail, stating his desire to go in a different direction with his defense. Ragsdale is charged with aggravated murder.

"There's just a difference of opinion on how to go ahead with the case," Skordas said. "He has a different direction he would like the case to go and felt like another attorney would be appropriate for that."

Ragsdale was recently ordered to stand trial in 4th District Court on three charges — one of aggravated murder, a capital felony, and two charges of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

The domestic violence charges stem from the risk Ragsdale is accused of creating for other churchgoers. Police recovered several bullets from nearby vehicles that were within feet of a father and his two sons as they walked into the church building.

Government prosecutors have until Aug. 1 to declare if they will seek the death penalty. However, prosecutor Craig Johnson said it was very possible they would have a decision by Ragsdale's next court hearing on July 9.

"Greg Skordas has been great to work with," Johnson said. "We're disappointed he's withdrawing; however, we're committed to pursuing this all the way to trial to get justice for Kristy Ragsdale and her mother and family."

Although Ragsdale's next hearing on July 9 was for a scheduling conference, when a trial could be scheduled, Johnson expects the attorney switch to delay the case at least a month. Judge Claudia Laycock has the ultimate say about whether Skordas can step down.

As far as potential plea bargains, Johnson said they've been discussing that option from the beginning, as they do in every case.

"We've given Mr. Ragsdale several months to consider his options with Mr. Skordas," Johnson said. "I can't help but think that the fact that he is not going to be represented by Mr. Skordas any longer indicates his desire to go all the way to trial, as the state is prepared to do. It would be very unlikely that we'd be plea bargaining any further. Our 100 percent focus is that this case will go to trial."

Skordas said Ragsdale has talked with several attorneys, and Skordas followed up with conversations as well.

"I would make sure there was a smooth transition to whoever makes the case," Skordas said. "I wish (Ragsdale) the best, hope he gets a good lawyer, hope the case goes smoothly."

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