Robert Cash

Courtesy photo

Robert Cash

Cash found competent to stand trial in 2010 shooting

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— New trial dates have been set for the Steamboat Springs man accused of attempting to murder his wife.

The issue of whether Robert Cash was competent to stand trial essentially had stalled the case since February. Cash recently returned from Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo, where the evaluation was completed.

Cash is accused of shooting his wife, Rhonda Cash, in the back of the neck early June 11, 2010, at their Iris Lane home before shooting himself in the chest.

He is charged with attempted first-degree murder and crime of violence, both felonies. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 16 to 48 years in prison.

Cash, who was 55 when the shooting occurred, seemed upbeat Tuesday when he entered the courtroom at the Routt County Justice Center laughing at a comment he made while being escorted in by jailers. Cash was using a walker and was wearing Routt County Jail sweats.

He was represented by Routt County Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann, who told 14th Judicial District Judge Shelley Hill that she would not object to the finding of the competency evaluation.

Cash pleaded not guilty in December 2010. His 10-day trial originally was scheduled to start in May, and the new one has been scheduled for Jan. 9 to 13 and continues Jan. 17 to 18 after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. Motions to help determine what evidence can be heard during the trial will be heard Nov. 29 to 30.

Cash’s competency evaluation is sealed in the court file, and Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle said he could not discuss it.

During a preliminary hearing in October 2010 in Routt County Court, prosecutors said Cash and his wife had argued the night before the shooting and Rhonda Cash, then 48, kicked her husband out of the bedroom. Prosecutors said Cash shot his wife with a small-caliber handgun the next morning, then checked on her several times and asked whether she was dead yet. During a hospital interview with police, Rhonda Cash said she was paralyzed from the shot and held her breath when Robert Cash was in the room. She said he covered her face with a sheet the final time he entered.

Police said that while investigating the shootings, they found a series of notes in the Cash home, including one that began with “I just lost it.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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