Man accused of choking jogger deemed incompetent for trial

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A man charged with attempted murder for allegedly having choked a woman as she was jogging on a Valencia bike path nearly two years ago has been deemed incompetent to stand trial, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Colton Ford, 31, described by the deputies who arrested him as a transient living in the Santa Clara River wash, was charged with one count of attempted willful, deliberate and premeditated murder.

“He was deemed incompetent to stand trial,” D.A. spokesman Richard Santiago said Monday, referring to a court hearing in July 2018.

Ford’s mental health was questioned in April 2018, leading to several court appearances during which status reports on his mental health were presented in court.

Although the decision was made in July that Ford would not stand trial on the felony charge filed against him, the “mental health reports have continued throughout,” Santiago said.

The next mental health report is slated to be heard in San Fernando Superior Court on Aug. 8, he said.

Ford, who remains under observation at the Patton State Hospital, was arrested on Sept. 26, 2017.

On that day, shortly before 8:20 a.m., a woman jogging on the bike path in Valencia near the post office on McBean Parkway was attacked.

The attacker allegedly grabbed her and began to strangle her until she became unconscious, Santiago said in a news release issued in 2017.

Paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to the incident, provided medical aid to the woman and took her to the hospital.

Shortly after the arrest, Capt. Robert Lewis of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station provided details about the incident at a City Council meeting.

“Two good Samaritans who actually came to her rescue, held on to the suspect for deputies,” Lewis told council members.

Lewis, at the time, said Ford had arrived in the SCV from Orange County in early 2017 and that he had been arrested on four Proposition 47 charges prior.

“This individual is a Prop. 47 individual,” he said in 2017.

“Eight hours into the investigation, we are now looking at an attempted murder charge.”

Arrest documents show that Ford was arrested in the SCV June 20, 2017, on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Proposition 47 — also called the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act — reduced about two dozen nonviolent felonies, such as shoplifting and drug possession, to misdemeanors, which, typically, carry less jail time, if any jail time at all.

Californians voted in favor of the Proposition 47 ballot measure in November 2014.

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On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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