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Local quadruplet accused of trying to murder brother

The youngest of the Rogue Valley's most famous siblings — the Ronda quadruplets — is accused of attempting to murder one of his brothers, prosecutors say.

Andrew Richard Ronda, 16, has been charged as an adult with attempted murder, attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert.

"The defendant came up with a plan to kill his brother," Heckert said. "He lured his brother behind a building and stabbed him."

The sibling suffered a deep laceration to his hand, but he managed to run away and get help, she said.

"Police were called after other family members intervened and got the situation under control," Heckert said.

Calls to parents Steve and Jami Ronda's residence were not returned Wednesday.

The Rondas began making local headlines on April 2, 1996, when Jami Ronda delivered the first quadruplets born in Jackson County — Anneliese, Matthew, Mark and Andrew — by Caesarean section at Rogue Valley Medical Center after undergoing in vitro fertilization. Andrew was the last sibling to exit his mother's womb, following the others by about a minute.

The Rondas were back in the news in October 2007 when Jami Ronda competed for the title of Mrs. Oregon in Clackamas County. Ronda came in third. She told the Mail Tribune at the time that she entered the pageant after a series of health issues forced her to get in shape. Her platform was preventing disease through health and fitness.

Heckert said police reports state Andrew Ronda suffers from "mental health issues" of unknown type.

Ronda was arraigned Tuesday on a district attorney's information and assigned an attorney, Heckert said. She will lay the case out before a grand jury today.

Andrew Ronda's mental health issues and the seriousness of the pending criminal charges put his "parents and family members in a difficult situation," Heckert said.

Attempted murder and second-degree assault are Measure 11 crimes. Each carries a mandatory sentence of 90 and 70 months, respectively.

"We filed the charges based on the facts of the case," Heckert said. "We don't have all the mental health issues information right now. But these facts do fit the conduct in this case."

The teen's mental health status likely will play a part in his defense, Heckert said, adding the state will also be reviewing that information and determining what will best serve the interests of justice and the community.

"We will look at the mental health issues to see what kind of resolutions we might come up with that will best serve the defendant, as well as resolve the public safety issue, to make sure something like this doesn't happen again," Heckert said. Andrew Ronda is currently being detained in the county's juvenile facility, she said.

Joe Ferguson, director of Jackson County Community Justice's juvenile division, said Andrew Ronda has had three prior referrals to the juvenile justice department. In November 2008, he met with probation officers after being charged with harassment and reckless burning. In August 2009, he met again with probation officers for second-degree criminal mischief. In March he participated in a diversion program related to third-degree theft charges.

None of the other Ronda children have juvenile records, Ferguson said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.