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Arrested again despite vow to take medicine

Staff writer

A Florence woman convicted just two weeks ago of three counts of battery against a law enforcement officer was once again in jail Thursday.

Rexana Siebert, 45, had struck a deal to plead no contest in return for dismissal of charges in eight other cases filed against her.

But she was arrested again Thursday near Burns on suspicion of another charge of battery against a law enforcement officer, interference with law enforcement, and domestic battery. Bond was set at $10,000.

Sheriff Jeff Soyez said Stan Ammeter called 911 early Thursday to say he wanted Siebert removed from a home they shared at 40th and Vista Rds.

“He reported Rexana was very upset, she had assaulted him, and he wanted her removed her from the residence,” Soyez said.

Ammeter fled the residence before summoning deputies.

“He went to a neighbor’s house and called 911,” Soyez said.

When deputies arrived there, Ammeter had minor lacerations to his face, Soyez said.

Deputies Matt Regier and Joel Womochil moved to arrest Siebert on suspicion of domestic battery, but she spit in Regier’s face and kicked him on the leg, Soyez said.

Womochil took Siebert into custody.

Part of Siebert’s plea deal was that she would comply with mental health services, including taking medication. She earlier had been evaluated at Larned State Hospital.

Her sentencing on the three earlier charges of battery against a law enforcement officer is now scheduled for Aug. 9.

Ammeter has had several interactions with law enforcement as well. He owned 14 potbelly pigs that were shot by neighbors last year after the pigs desecrated a cemetery.

Ammeter was charged March 29, 2021 with criminal desecration and maintaining a public nuisance.

Charges were dismissed after he agreed to pay restitution for damage to the cemetery.

Seibert repeatedly has been arrested as a result of bizarre behavior.

In spring of 2021, Seibert’s court-appointed lawyer and the county attorney agreed she should undergo a mental evaluation.

The agreement followed numerous episodes. She allegedly entered a friend’s home in spring of 2021 without permission, took a bath, talked to herself while throwing things off her friend’s porch, and came outside inappropriately attired.

A short time later, she allegedly entered St. Mark Catholic Church, where she reportedly had caused a disturbance the day before and had been told not to return.

She was arrested but bonded out, and soon after, her mother, former Marion city councilwoman Susan Gray, summoned police because Siebert would not leave Gray’s residence after being told to do so.

Later that day, police were summoned to St. Luke Hospital, where Siebert had shown up and was combative and unruly. While officer Duane McCarty was at the hospital, Siebert spit on him. He warned jail staff that Siebert was “in a spitting mood” before he brought her inside the jail. She then spit in the face of a jailer.

In an earlier incident, she was arrested for trespass after she came to the jail to visit a male friend and refused to leave.

She repeatedly has been charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, domestic battery, and battery.

According to retired district judge Michael Powers, it’s not unusual for a person to repeatedly jailed, forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation, and ordered to comply with therapy and take medication.

“This pops up in every court in the state on a somewhat frequent basis,” Powers said.

Courts can order a defendant to be evaluated to determine whether they are competent to stand trial.

If a person is ruled to know right from wrong and to be able to adequately participate in their defense, he or she is ruled legally sane.

“You can be mentally ill but still be competent to participate in your own defense,” Powers said.

If the person is ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation, the state hospital is not required to keep the person.

After the evaluation is complete, the hospital sometimes keeps the person, but it has the authority to send them out the door.

“I don’t blame the state hospitals for this,” Powers said. “They are tremendously underfunded.”

Kansas law doesn’t have a provision to assign a case manager to oversee a person after he or she is released from a state hospital. If it did, the case manager could make sure the patient took prescribed medications and got further treatment if needed.

Courts don’t have enough probation officers to perform case management.

“Ultimately,” Powers said, “if you want to follow the trail of these kind of cases, you see that these people keep getting put in jail for pretty minor stuff, to keep it from being that you walk in and find someone has been shot.”

Police do what they can, he said.

The court system could put the person in jail for a year or so, but then the person would be disrupting the jail and causing problems there.

“If we were going to do this for everyone who needs to be there, we would need to build a wing on the jail,” Powers said. “The thing we need to do is adequately fund the mental health system.”

Last modified Aug. 4, 2022

 

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