Nursing Home Assault Suspect Dies; No One Tells Attorneys

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Grand Junction , Colo. (AP) Attorneys in the sexual assault case of a 91-year-old palisade man have seen it come to a quick end, after they learned the nursing home resident accused of the crime died nearly a month ago.

Ralph Ridenour died at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Grand Junction on Feb. 22, according to Snell-McLean Funeral Home in Palisade, which handled his arrangements.

The suspect's public defender and officials from the Mesa County District Attorney's office were in court Wednesday for a hearing to determine if Ridenour was fit to stand trial unaware he was dead.
Ridenour was accused of forcible attempted sexual assault, forcible attempted sexual contact and other charges for allegedly grabbing a nurse at the Palisade Living Center, and repeatedly threatening to rape her.

He was due in court April 14.