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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Defendant in murder case to be evaluated

  • A rural Leavenworth man charged with second-degree murder will undergo a mental competency evaluation.
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  • A rural Leavenworth man charged with second-degree murder will undergo a mental competency evaluation.
    The evaluation of Jeffery Sifford was ordered when he appeared Friday in Leavenworth County District Court. Sifford's attorney, Geoffrey Sonntag, said the defense and prosecution were making a joint request for the examination.
    Sifford, 48, is charged with the shooting death of of Richard E. Luse, 58, of rural Easton. Luse was found wounded in the early morning hours of Dec. 22 in a travel trailer at a residence 19000 block of Springdale Road, which is where Sifford lives. Luse later died at the hospital.
    Investigators believe the shooting resulted from an argument Sifford allegedly had with Luse, Leavenworth County Undersheriff Jim Sherley said.
    Sifford is not charged with intentionally killing Luse. But, the defendant is alleged to have acted in a reckless manner that resulted in Luse's death, according to the criminal complaint.
    Sifford was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Jan. 16. But, District Judge Gunnar Sundby said Friday that the preliminary hearing was canceled because the case is suspended until the competency issue is resolved.
    Sundby said the competency evaluation will be handled through the Guidance Center. Such evaluations generally take two weeks.
    The judge scheduled a competency hearing for Jan. 29.
    "That gives us a little more than two weeks," Sundby said.
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