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Ronda indicted by grand jury

Medford quadruplet Andrew Richard Ronda was indicted by a Jackson County grand jury Thursday on Measure 11 charges alleging he tried to murder one of his brothers.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert said the 16-year-old was indicted on charges of attempted murder and second-degree assault, both Measure 11 crimes, attempted first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. The teen is being charged as an adult for all four offenses, she said.

Ronda is accused of luring his brother out behind a building Sunday and stabbing him. The victim suffered a deep laceration to the hand and was able to run away from the defendant, police said.

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

"This is obviously a difficult case," Heckert said. "At the moment the charges fit the facts."

Calls to the boys' parents, Steven and Jami Ronda, on Wednesday and Thursday were not returned.

Heckert has confirmed independent information gathered by the Mail Tribune that the parents were out of the area at the time of the alleged assault, and that the children were in the care of their grandparents.

Heckert said prosecutors cannot order a mental health evaluation on the teen. But his defense attorney can, she said, adding there is often "room for negotiations in these types of cases."

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

"We would like to see an appropriate way to resolve this situation and get him some help," Heckert said. "But you can't just be out in the community when you're showing these kinds of behaviors."

The Rondas began making local headlines on April 2, 1996, when Jami Ronda delivered the first quadruplets born in Jackson County at Rogue Valley Medical Center after undergoing in vitro fertilization. Andrew is the youngest of the four siblings.

Andrew Ronda has had three prior referrals to the juvenile justice department starting in 2008. His misdemeanor charges include harassment, reckless burning, second-degree criminal mischief and third-degree theft, said Joe Ferguson, director of Jackson County Community Justice's juvenile division.

Andrew Ronda was initially arraigned on the current felony charges Tuesday on a district attorney's information. He was assigned an attorney from the public defender's office and will be re-arraigned on the grand jury indictment early next week. He remains lodged in the Jackson County juvenile detention facility, Heckert said.

Sanne Specht is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.