Multi-state crime spree suspect declared fit to stand trial

GRANTS PASS, Ore. —  “The whole neighborhood is shaken up,” said Jeremy Matlock, a resident in Grants Pass.

Members of a Grants Pass neighborhood told NBC5 News back in February, they were shocked to hear a fellow resident crossed paths with a man on the run from police.

“They were just coming back home at the end of the day and were checking their mailbox, and I believe that’s when the perpetrator came up to them and tried to steal their car,” said Matlock.

Police say the man, Matthew Anthony Fanelli, is facing over 27 charges including attempt to commit murder.

On Friday, a judge decided whether the 30-year-old was mentally fit to stand trial.

Josephine County Chief Deputy D.A. Lisa Turner says Fanelli was initially declared ‘unfit’ but after new evidence was brought to light, she says a doctor changed their evaluation.

“I played a voluminous amount of jail phone calls where he’s talking to family members which provided more information to the court and to the evaluator regarding his mental state,” said Josephine County Chief Deputy D.A., Lisa Turner.

Police say Fanelli’s crime spree began in Roseburg with a reported car jacking in February.

One suspect was arrested on outstanding warrants from Utah.

However, police say Fanelli, the other suspect, took off heading South on I-5.

During the chase, police say he shot a gun several times hitting a “car seat” in one car carrying a young child and also disabled an Oregon State Police patrol car.

No one in the cars were hurt.

Police say Fanelli then shot a Josephine County man 4 times in an attempt to steal his car; the man survived.

Fanelli eventually surrendered to police.

“Even though luckily nobody died, just the amount of evidence, discovery, and witnesses it is more akin to a murder case because of the amount of individuals that are involved and the amount of evidence,” said Turner.

Fanelli’s troubles aren’t only in Oregon, he also allegedly shot and killed an Uber driver in Denver, Colorado just days before coming to Oregon.

Fanelli is now scheduled to go to court in Josephine County in January of 2021.

He’s failed to show up for an estimated 5 to 8 hearings in his case thus far.

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