Case stalled against a man accused of shooting a Mariposa County Sheriffs Deputy

MARIPOSA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Criminal proceedings against the suspect in the shooting of a Mariposa County Sheriffs Deputy have been suspended.

Bryan Ballasch was at his first court appearance just four days after the October 1st shootout that left Mariposa County Sheriff Deputy Rudy Mirelez badly wounded.

Ballasch has been charged with attempted murder, but the case against him has stalled because a judge just ruled Ballasch is mentally incompetent to stand trial. Mariposa County District Attorney Thomas Cook says that means Ballasch will be sent away for treatment. "I assume he probably will go to the state hospital either in Atascadero or Napa. While there he'll be treated-- hopefully he'll be restored to competency quickly and come back and then we will resume the criminal proceedings."

Ballasch had already been diagnosed with PTSD by the Veterans Administration as a result of his military service and his defense attorney, Katherine Hart of Fresno, told us once the case resumes his mental state will likely be part of his defense. "Given that two doctors have found my client not competent to stand trial that very much brings the prospect of a not guilty by reason of insanity plea."

Deputy Mirelez was shot in the face but is recovering-- two weeks ago he attended a mariposa high school football game. His boss, Sheriff Doug Binneweis, said Mirelez is doing well. "Deputy Rudy Mirelez is continuing to heal, we are of course keeping in close touch with him. He and his family appear to be doing very well-- we're really excited for his progress "

Ballasch could face up to life in prison if convicted and the district attorney said justice can wait. "We are looking forward to prosecuting the case and holding him accountable for what he has done."

An evaluation in the State Mental Hospital takes at least 90 days, and it could be much longer until doctors say Ballasch is able to return to Mariposa County to stand trial.
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