Sister says man does not remember trying to kill his kids — (Traverse City Record-Eagle)

Original article no longer available

The Traverse City Record-Eagle

By IAN C. STOREY, Record-Eagle staff writer

Prosecutor awaits mental evaluation    

TRAVERSE CITY – Nikki DeMer said her brother doesn’t remember the night he tried to kill himself and his two young children.
But he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of the attempt.
Ricky Harhold, 47, is awaiting a forensic exam to determine whether he’ll stand trial on four felony charges for allegedly trying to kill his 10-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter at their East Bay Township home on March 6.
Police said Harhold admitted he used natural and propane gases to try to kill the children before he intentionally crashed his vehicle into a tree near Hammond and High Lake roads.
Harhold faces two counts of attempted homicide and two counts of assault with intent to murder, punishable by life in prison.
But DeMer said her brother does not remember the incidents because of a combination of prescribed anti-depressants and alcohol he “mistakenly” consumed.
“He can’t believe he did do this,” she said. “I talked to him a couple times that weekend and he doesn’t remember our conversations. He didn’t realize how a beer and his medication would affect him.”
Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider said he awaits a state-of-mind evaluation to determine whether Harhold – who is using an insanity defense – can be held criminally responsible for trying to kill the children.
Schneider expects the evaluation to be completed in a few weeks.
“I don’t want to be premature in saying anything, but I expect there to be a trial,” he said.
Harhold is scheduled for a final conference hearing in 13th Circuit Court in June. If necessary, trial dates have been set for August.
DeMer said her brother was depressed by a pending divorce from his wife – who has custody of the two children – and a family-business relationship that had gone bad.

 

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Man pleads guilty to child abuse in murder-suicide case — (The Traverse City Record-Eagle)

September 30, 2005

FROM STAFF REPORTS

TRAVERSE CITY – Ricky Harhold, who police said tried to kill his son and daughter in March, pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree child abuse.   Harhold faced two counts of attempted homicide and two counts of assault with intent to murder, punishable by life in prison.
But Tuesday, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider accepted a deal to drop those charges in exchange for Harhold’s guilty plea to first degree child abuse counts. Schneider said each of the two child abuse counts is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Police said Harhold admitted he used natural and propane gases to try to kill his son and daughter before he intentionally crashed his car into a tree near Hammond and High Lake roads.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t have made the deal if I didn’t think it was something that would result in something that was just,” Schneider said.  Harhold is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 28.