The man whose teenage son was charged with trying to commit a school shooting in February 2019 has died, and his widow’s case is pending.
Dale Owen, charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, died Dec. 5 at age 64 after a short hospitalization, according to a notice his attorney filed with the 13th Judicial District Court. No cause of death was given.
His widow, Tamara Owen, now 49, still faces the same charge, a fourth-degree felony.
Joshua Owen, then 16, brought his parents’ handgun to Cleveland High School on Valentine’s Day 2019 and tried to shoot fellow students, according to Rio Rancho Police. The gun malfunctioned, and Owen ran away without hurting anyone before being arrested, according to police.
Joshua Owen was released from custody last June with all charges dropped after he was found still incompetent to stand trial and no juvenile psychiatric treatment facility would take him, then-13th Judicial District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said at the time. Attorneys for the state Department of Health and the University of New Mexico Hospital Children’s Psychiatric Center said they couldn’t treat him.
There was no court order requiring Owen to receive any further behavioral health treatment. Martinez said a state statute required that the teen be released with charges dismissed, meaning no other court orders allowed, because he couldn’t be treated to competency.
In this year’s legislative session, state Reps. Jason Harper and Joshua Hernandez, both R-Rio Rancho, sponsored House Bill 305.
The legislation would have required the New Mexico Human Services Department to contract to provide residential treatment and habilitation services for minors deemed incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case. Such juveniles would have been required to remain in residential treatment until reaching the age of majority or becoming competent to stand trial.
The bill was still in a House of Representatives committee as of press time, and so was likely to die when the session ended, according to the New Mexico Legislature website.
Meanwhile, Tamara Owen’s case is still pending in court with no trial date set, according to court records.