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Man accused of killing his wife deemed unfit to stand trial

Judge’s order could be in place for up to three years or until suspect is found fit to participate in his defense

A man accused of killing his estranged wife has been declared unfit to continue with Jackson County Circuit Court proceedings.

After David Allen Karnes fatally shot Constance Maria Murphy, 54, Oct. 20, he barricaded himself inside the home on the 3300 block of Little Applegate Road near Ruch, then shot himself as a SWAT Team entered the home.

Karnes, 54, is charged with second-degree murder of Murphy.

He was determined to be unfit by a certified evaluator in late November.

The Dec. 1 order signed by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Laura Cromwell states that Karnes is to be transported to the Oregon State Hospital, where he could remain for up to three years or until he is considered capable to participate in his defense.

If Karnes is found guilty of second-degree murder, he could receive a life sentence, Cromwell’s order noted.

A second fitness hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14. A pre-trial hearing scheduled in February has been canceled.

Karnes was still being held in the Jackson County Jail as of Thursday, according to the facility’s inmate roster.