Two court cases have been continued for a man who was convicted of a 2008 murder in Leavenworth.

Two court cases have been continued for a man who was convicted of a 2008 murder in Leavenworth.

A trial was scheduled to begin Monday morning for Matthew Astorga. But that trial was continued so the defendant can undergo a competency evaluation, according to prosecution officials.

In that case, Astorga is charged with battery on a county corrections officer. The crime is alleged to have occurred July 15, 2014.

Astorga, 40, is accused of spitting in the face of an officer at the jail.

The case had been scheduled to go to trial last month, but a mistrial was declared after a defense witness failed to show up.

Monday's continuance was granted after prospective jurors had reported for jury duty in the case.

Astorga also had been scheduled to return next week to Leavenworth County District Court for a re-sentencing proceeding for his earlier murder case. But this case also has been continued.

Astorga previously was convicted of the first-degree murder of Ruben Rodriguez.

The crime took place Dec. 26, 2008.

Astorga was convicted of the murder following a trial in 2009 and received what is known as a Hard 50 sentence. This means he received a life sentence without possibility of parole for at least 50 years.

But he now has to be re-sentenced because the state’s old Hard 50 law was struck down by a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Under a new law, a jury will have to decide whether Astorga should once again receive the Hard 50 sentence.

Defense attorneys in both case filed motions requesting that Astorga undergo a competency evaluation. The proceedings have been suspended until the competency issue is resolved.

KiAnn Caprice, who is representing Astorga in the murder case, also requested an additional psychological evaluation, which has been granted by the judge, according to County Attorney Todd Thompson.

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