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California Man Declared Competent to Face Trial on Charges That He Murdered, Mutilated Unrequited Love Interest

Daniel Gunnarsson in court.

Daniel Gunnarsson (center).

A man who allegedly murdered and mutilated a woman over an unrequited romantic interest was declared competent to stand trial. Daniel Gunnarsson, 21, received treatment at a state hospital, according to KGET.

He was declared incompetent for trial in August for allegedly killing Kathryn “Katie” Pham, 21. Public defender Pam Singh had said that Gunnarsson was “not responsive at all” when attorneys tried to talk to him in jail.

Prosecutors said he killed Pham in grisly fashion. He was found with her body in an RV garage at his stepfather’s home in Kern County, California last year. His pants were “saturated” with blood, which covered his hands and neck, authorities said. Pham sustained major wounds to the back of her head and body.

“I killed her,” he allegedly said when authorities asked what happened to her.

Asked about the wounds, he allegedly said he did not know, but said he “must have bashed it in” using an icepick.

Two friends allegedly said he and Pham were in a casual relationship, but she did not return his feelings for her. A friend of Katie said that Gunnarsson picked Pham up from Las Vegas several days before the murder, and drove erratically and at high speeds because Pham was on the phone and not paying attention to him. This friend also claimed to overhear Gunnarsson insult Pham over the phone when she did not want to go to his home.

Gunnarsson’s friends allegedly said that he was suicidal the day before the murder–he drove erratically and backed his vehicle hard into a wall.

When speaking to detectives, Gunnarsson allegedly acted odd but he said he was “putting on an act.” He allegedly said he was high.

Hundreds attended a vigil in Pham’s memory, according to The Daily Independent.

“Our only consolation would be for justice to be served so that Katie could rest easy and Ridgecrest as a community could rest easy with her,” her father Tom Pham said there.

Authorities said Gunnarsson refused to get out of his cell for an arraignment in May, and he again refused in June to show up to court.

[Screenshot via KGET]

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