PROVO — Prosecutors say a man charged with gunning down his wife is failing to take responsibility by firing his attorney and pushing for trial.

David Ragsdale, 35, who shot his wife, Kristy, in a Lehi church parking lot on Jan. 6, was in 4th District Court Wednesday and told the judge he no longer wanted to work with attorney Greg Skordas.

"At this time, I no longer want him as my attorney," said Ragsdale, who is charged with aggravated murder. "I'd like to go in a different direction."

Judge Claudia Laycock told Ragsdale she wasn't going to delay the case for months while he looked and tried to find money to hire one, so she agreed to appoint a public defender.

However, the new attorney means another delay and more potential pain at trial for the family of Kristy Ragsdale.

"(The family) is frustrated," said prosecutor Craig Johnson. "The fact is that he shot their daughter, he shot their sister and he did so in cold blood ... on her 30th birthday. And here we are six months later and he still is not taking responsibility or any accountability for that. They're very upset."

The dismissal of Skordas, who Johnson called one of the top defense attorneys in the state and a former prosecutor, simply shows a refusal on Ragsdale's part to consider plea deals, which have been discussed, Johnson said.

"He's basically saying he's not willing to relieve (the victims) of any pain of this murder, and going to make them testify again (at trial)," Johnson said.

His sister, Tamara Ragsdale, said they had been looking for another attorney, but it was difficult with Ragsdale's thousands of dollars of assets frozen by civil lawsuits.

She continues to maintain a belief that Ragsdale was under the influence of a prescription "cocktail" of SSRIs — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of antidepressant drugs — when he shot his wife.

"The huge combination of SSRIs and other prescription drugs ... played a role in the tragedy," she said.

However, state prosecutors are clear that they don't believe drugs influenced Ragsdale's behavior, calling the crime "cold-blooded" murder.

Ragsdale will be in court again Aug. 6 for a pre-trial conference.


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