(Reuters) - A California grand jury has indicted a former nursing student with seven counts of murder in a shooting rampage at a Christian college, freeing prosecutors from having to present their case to a judge before proceeding to trial if the defendant is later declared mentally competent, a local CBS broadcaster reported.
An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled in January last year that Korean-American One Goh was mentally incompetent to stand trial.
If a judge determines at a later point that Goh has regained his mental competency, he would be ordered to stand trial in the high-profile case.
Broadcaster CBS cited Alameda County prosecutors in saying that charges originally brought against Goh were incorporated in the Aug. 22 indictment. However he now faces two allegations, down from ten, that could possibly lead to the death penalty if he is convicted.
Without an indictment, the government would need to present its case to a judge in a preliminary hearing to show there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
Goh would not be arraigned on the charges until he is deemed fit for trial, CBS reported.
Goh has pleaded not guilty. Doctors have determined that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
Authorities say they believe Goh became angry after he dropped out of the nursing school last year and administrators refused to refund his tuition.
According to court documents filed by prosecutors, Goh told investigators he went to the school in an industrial area of Oakland armed with a .45-caliber handgun and four magazines fully loaded with ammunition.
The document said Goh confessed to forcing an administrator from her office into a classroom at gunpoint. Inside the classroom, the court papers say, Goh killed several people before fleeing in a student's car.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; editing by Ralph Boulton)