Herbel is competent to stand trial for child molesting

Staff reporter

The ruling came down Tuesday morning in Marion County District Court that accused child molester Randy Herbel of Hillsboro and most recently of Marion, is competent to stand trial.

Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge Michael F. Powers told those in the courtroom that after hearing two days of testimony from mental health professionals, all agreed that Herbel was mentally ill. Additional testimony regarding tests that were administered also was discussed, as were the results.

Powers then stated that the state statute regarding incompetency indicated that incompetency had to be due to mental illness or a deficit and a person cannot understand or cannot assist in own defense.

"In 17 years on the bench, this has been the most troubling motion I've dealt with," Powers said.

He continued that if Herbel was not found competent, he would be sent back to the same hospital that testified he was competent and there was the likelihood that there would be other hearings to determine the same issues.

With that, Powers revealed his findings that Herbel is able to understand issues before him and able to assist in his own defense. Powers admitted there may be issues down the road but he couldn't rule on what might happen.

Attorney David Harger had been assisting Marion County Attorney Susan Robson during the Herbel competency hearing and Herbel's defense attorneys filed a motion to have Harger withdrawn because of a conflict of interest. Harger had been appointed by the court to represent Herbel but Harger quickly withdrew because of another conflict of interest.

There also was a laundry list of motions that had been filed by the defense which has to be resolved before a trial can occur, including the issue with Harger.

Since the defense attorneys contend it will take a full day to hear all of the motions, Powers set the next hearing date for 9 a.m. Sept. 16.

Herbel's defense attorney asked for a motion for the judge to set bond so Herbel could be released. Powers responded that after hearing testimony regarding Herbel's mental condition, a bond request probably would be denied.