OGDEN -- A prisoner in Weber County Jail while facing the death penalty has developed an ailment that brings up the problem of dispensing narcotic prescriptions behind bars.
Accused double murderer Jeremy Valdes, 36, has been held in the jail since his November 2009 arrest in the killing of Matthew Roddy, 30, and Roddy's mother, Pamela Jeffries, 56, in their Roy mobile home.
It is unclear if his condition will slow a case that has already seen delays expected in a death penalty prosecution. At a hearing Thursday in 2nd District Court, which had been scheduled for last month on pending pre-trial issues, Valdes' health came up, according to court records.
Judge Mark DeCaria agreed to a defense request for a court order mandating a doctor's examination of Valdes, and the prescribing of any pain medications if needed.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Branden Miles, lead prosecutor on the case, said Valdes has developed chronic back trouble and was dissatisfied with the treatment he'd been receiving at the jail. Jail officials are reluctant to give out prescription narcotics because of the potential for abuse among the inmate population, Miles said.
Dr. Ronald Houston, a psychologist examining Valdes for the defense is also considering whether Valdes needs an MRI examination as part of a defense investigation of Valdes' abuse of prescription narcotics in the past, according to minutes of Thursday's hearing.
Valdes was on probation for prior convictions for distribution of prescription pain-killers when he was arrested for the 2009 killings.
Police say the murders came after Valdes learned Jeffries or Roddy had called police suspecting Valdes had stolen Jeffries' prescription pain-killers.
The case has already been the source of numerous pretrial motions. A suppression hearing stretched on more than a year with numerous hearings before Valdes' purported confession to Roy police was thrown out in 2011 on a technical violation.
Late last year 19 separate motions were pending, including a number of constitutional challenges to capital punishment, typical to any death penalty case. All have been dealt with leading to last month's setting of Valdes' trial for 28 days, beginning Sept. 17. It's the third time the trial has been scheduled in the case.
An autopsy found 31 knife wounds in Roddy's body, according to testimony, while Jeffries suffered severe head injuries but died from asphyxiation.