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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Judge: Murder suspect competent to stand trial

  • A rural Leavenworth man charged with second-degree murder has been found competent to stand trial.
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    • Story at a glance ...
      • Leavenworth resident Jeffery Sifford is charged with second-degree murder of Richard E. Luse, of rural Easton.

      • Luse died Dec. 22, 2013, after he was found wound...
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      Story at a glance ...
      • Leavenworth resident Jeffery Sifford is charged with second-degree murder of Richard E. Luse, of rural Easton.

      • Luse died Dec. 22, 2013, after he was found wounded at Sifford's home.

      • Sifford is competent to stand trial, a Leavenworth County District Court judge ruled Thursday.

      • A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 7.


  • A rural Leavenworth man charged with second-degree murder has been found competent to stand trial.
    The ruling was made Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court after Jeffery Sifford was evaluated through The Guidance Center in Leavenworth.
    Sifford, 48, is charged in connection to the shooting death of Richard E. Luse, 58, of rural Easton.
    Luse was found wounded in the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 2013, in a travel trailer at a residence in the 19000 block of Springdale Road, which is where Sifford lives. Luse later died at the hospital.
    Investigators believe the shooting resulted from an argument between Sifford and 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.
    The competency evaluation was ordered Jan. 10 as a result of a joint recommendation by prosecution and defense attorneys.
    At the time, a preliminary hearing had been scheduled for Jan. 16. But, the preliminary hearing was canceled until the competency issue was resolved.
    "The court has received a report from The Guidance Center," District Court Judge Gunnar Sundby said Wednesday.
    Defense attorney Geoffrey Sonntag said he had not yet seen the report. Sundby provided the defense with a copy and left the courtroom for a few minutes to give Sonntag time to review it.
    After he returned, Sundby said he would accept the report into evidence.
    Sonntag and Leavenworth County Assistant Attorney Cheryl Marquardt said they had no other evidence to present.
    Sundby said, based on the report, the defendant meets the criteria for competency to stand trial. The judge said the next step would be a preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for the afternoon of March 7.
    Evidence will be presented during the hearing, and the judge will determine if the case should be bound for trial.
    Sifford remains in custody at the Leavenworth County Jail. Bond has been set at $250,000.

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