Michael Ryan Downs, accused of stabbing his friend Daniel Ridgeway with an 8-inch kitchen knife on Jan. 5, was arrested on an aggravated battery charge, but now is expected to be charged with first-degree murder, an Ada County deputy prosecutor said Wednesday.
Mention of the planned change in the charge was made during a brief hearing for Downs at which his original attorney withdrew and he was appointed a public defender. Deputy Prosecutor John Dinger said after the hearing that an amended complaint has not yet been filed, and the issues will be discussed during a hearing April 21.
Dinger declined to discuss details of the case or say when Ridgeway died. Court records show Downs’ bond was increased from $50,000 to $500,000 on March 30. A friend of Ridgeway’s family told the Statesman Ridgeway died in late March.
At Downs’ arraignment on the original charge in January, a prosecutor said Downs was under a methamphetamine-induced psychosis when he stabbed his friend. Downs, 25, had recently been released from a mental health confinement and reportedly was taking drugs, the prosecutor said.
The stabbing took place in about 5 a.m. in a Foothills home near the intersection of Windsong Drive and Toluka Way that is owned by Downs’ parents.