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Judge dismisses attempted murder case against Gift

Nearly two years after he was arrested on charges of attempted murder, a judge dismissed the criminal case against a Scappoose man on the grounds that he is psychologically incapable of aiding in his defense.

Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove ruled Tuesday morning that Mark Gift, 73, suffered from dementia and could not stand trial.

Instead, Grove ordered Gift committed to a psychiatric ward for 180 days.

The court still considers Gift a danger to the public, according to Deputy District Attorney Dale Anderson. He may be housed indefinitely.

'There's no treatment available for him,' Anderson said. 'Once he arrives [to the psychiatric facility], I imagine they will begin a search for a more appropriate care facility for people with dementia.'

Gift was accused of trying to murder his son-in-law by running him over with a car during a heated altercation. Later, while out on bail, he was arrested for reportedly trying to stab his grandson with a set of wire cutters.

Gift previously proclaimed his innocence on the attempted murder charge to The Spotlight in November 2009, saying at the time that police officers Tased him unnecessarily after an argument with his son-in-law.

Since his arrest, Gift has been housed both at Columbia County Jail and the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, where he underwent psychological evaluations.