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Herbel found guilty of molestation

Managing editor

Randy Herbel, 42, of Hillsboro, was convicted July 15 of two counts of child molestation in a case that had many twists and turns.

There were two separate criminal cases of two counts of rape of a child and two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The crimes allegedly took place Aug. 1 and 2, 2006. The charges were amended to two counts of rape and one count of indecent liberties with a child.

The case began in October 2006, when Herbel was arrested on the first set of charges.

The court appointed David Harger as Herbel’s attorney. On Oct. 13, Harger withdrew because of a conflict of interest. Kevin Loeffler was appointed.

The defendant pleaded not guilty Jan. 22, 2007 at an arraignment hearing. A jury trial was set for March 29. After several motion hearings, the trial then was set for June 13.

Bond of $100,000 was posted for Herbel, requiring the defendant be under house arrest and wear a monitoring device.

Herbel then was charged with a second count of rape March 2, from an incident Aug. 1, 2006.

Loeffler filed a motion for a psychological evaluation June 12 — once again postponing a trial.

Stating a “conflict had developed,” Loeffler withdrew as Herbel’s attorney Sept. 10. Douglas Jones and Donald Snapp were appointed consecutively as the defendant’s attorney, and then withdrew, respectively. Assistant public defenders Angela Stoller and Jennifer Chaffee were appointed and continued to represent him throughout the trial.

On Feb. 12, 2008, the defense filed an order to determine competency of their client.

A motion also was filed March 6 to allow Herbel to have back surgery at Via Christi Medical Center-St. Francis Campus in Wichita.

The following day, Herbel’s bond was revoked because court and law enforcement personnel received letters from Herbel stating he would “eliminate his tormentors.”

The defendant was found incompetent to stand trial and was adjudged a danger to public safety. The court ordered evaluation and treatment for Herbel at Larned Mental Hospital.

Following 24 days in the mental institution, Herbel was determined to be competent to stand trial.

Herbel had back surgery May 14.

Marion County Attorney Susan Robson sought assistance from Kansas Attorney General’s office Sept. 11.

At the time of Herbel’s arrest, there were two other child molestation cases being prosecuted against two other men.

“With Jessica’s Law, molestation cases have changed in the way they’re prosecuted,” Robson said. “These cases take a lot of time.”

Robson contacted the attorney general’s office and asked for assistance with a special prosecutor.

The case finally came to trial July 14 with special prosecutor Jason Hart at the helm and District Judge Barry Bennington on the bench. The jury reached a decision July 15 and found Herbel guilty on the two counts.

Herbel could be sentenced to 25 years in prison for each count.

Sentencing is at 10:45 a.m. Sept. 9 in Marion County District Court.

Last modified July 22, 2009

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