Crime & Courts

Ex-Cowboy Joseph Randle to receive another competency exam

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle sits in a Sedgwick County courtroom for a bond hearing in 2016.
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle sits in a Sedgwick County courtroom for a bond hearing in 2016. File photo

A Sedgwick County judge on Friday agreed to halt further action in five criminal cases pending against ex-Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle until he receives another competency evaluation.

The mental health exam will be 25-year-old Randle’s third since he was arrested and charged with several felonies following an argument at a housewarming party more than a year ago. He has since racked up charges in four additional cases.

During a brief hearing Friday morning, defense attorney Steven Mank said some of Randle’s behavior during his trial last month and his confusion over jurors’ verdicts warrant another evaluation — this time at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Larned. He also asked that Randle’s presentencing investigation in the case be completed there.

Mank said that when he met with Randle two days after jurors handed down guilty verdicts on four counts but were hung on others, “quite frankly, he did not understand what happened to him.” He said he thinks another evaluation will likely show Randle “is much worse” and less able to assist in his defense than the previous two.

A written request for the competency exam contends Randle “did not understand the nature of the proceedings and had difficulty in following the trial.” Jurors convicted him of one count each of aggravated battery, aggravated burglary, criminal threat and possession of marijuana on April 21.

Randle’s other evaluations, ordered last May and September, were completed by Comcare, Sedgwick County’s community mental health center.

In each, he was deemed competent to assist in his own defense.

Prosecutor Alice Osburn didn’t object to the Larned hospital completing the presentencing investigation, saying it’s a “useful tool to find out what, if anything, is going on in Mr. Randle’s head.” But she disagreed with Mank’s suggestion that Randle may not have been fully competent during his trial.

District Judge Kevin O’Connor granted the request for the third mental evaluation and agreed to halt further progress in all of Randle’s court cases until it’s complete.

Randle, a Wichita native, was arrested in February 2016 and accused of striking partygoers with a car after he was asked to leave a southeast Wichita home. He later landed additional charges that accuse him of dodging police serving a warrant, threatening to kill a detention deputy, damaging a Sedgwick County Jail television and battering a fellow inmate during a brawl.

Randle has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Court records show he is acting as his own lawyer in the inmate battery case.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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