Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2014

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Man accused of killing grandfather ordered to undergo mental evaluation

A Las Vegas man accused of fatally stabbing his elderly grandfather after escaping from an Oregon psychiatric facility refused to attend an arraignment for the fourth time today, prompting a judge to order a mental evaluation.

Steven Woodard, 43, was to be arraigned today before Clark County District Court Judge Conrad Hafen. But his attorney, Deputy Clark County Public Defender Julia Murray, said staff have been “unable to transfer him (to the judge’s chambers) because of his medical condition,” declining to elaborate.

Metro Police found Woodard’s grandfather, Richard Hill, 91, dead May 6 in a recliner near the front door of his house in the 2800 block of Florence Avenue, near Tropicana and Eastern avenues. His throat had been slit.

Police were already looking for Woodard in a separate attack eight miles away by the time they found the body.

Woodard’s father, Jerry Woodard, said his son walked into his house in the 1400 block of Cottonwood Place about 1:30 a.m. that morning and accused him of trying to kill his children, authorities said.

Steven Woodard reached for a box cutter and cut his father across the neck before running out of the house, according to a Metro Police report. A roommate of his father’s also was injured, but both men survived the attack, police said.

That afternoon, police named Steven Woodard as the suspect in Hill’s slaying and the attack on Jerry Woodard and his roommate.

Steven Woodard had escaped from an Oregon mental health facility where he was receiving treatment after a suicide attempt, police said, adding that he had a history of violence against his father and others in the family.

Metro Police found Steven Woodard the next day sleeping in the back yard of an abandoned house in the 1500 block of Thelma Lane, about two blocks west of his father’s house.

He was wearing a white T-shirt, jean shorts and white sneakers, all spattered with blood, police said. He denied being at his grandfather’s house, though a witness had previously told police he’d seen Steven Woodard there a day before Hill’s body was found, police said.

While speaking to police, the suspect seemed convinced that officers were lying to him, insisting his grandfather and father were alive and unharmed, police said. According to the police report, Steven Woodard said he heard voices in his head and he referred to himself as “the devil.”

The report references a transcribed statement that was not provided by officials.

Woodard, who remains at the Clark County Detention Center without bail, has missed four court appearances since May 9. He’s scheduled to undergo a mental health evaluation on July 18.

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