Roach found competent to stand trial

Joe Kain Roach, Jr., the Scottsville man who sparked a seven-hour standoff with law enforcement last April, has been found competent to stand trial.

Fluvanna Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore made his ruling at a hearing Friday (Nov. 17) after testimony from a doctor representing Central State Hospital in Petersburg.

Dr. Ted Simpson of Central State took the stand to outline the results of Roach’s court-ordered evaluation in September.

Simpson said the consensus of the team assigned to Roach was that he was “malingering,” or feigning psychological issues.

He pointed to two specific traits of malingering: exaggerating the severity of symptoms and inconsistency. As an example, Simpson said Roach claimed severe memory loss, but made statements at other times that showed he did have memories.

Roach was returned to Central Virginia Regional Jail with a diagnosis of malingering and “unspecified alcohol abuse syndrome.”

After reading the written reports and listening to Simpson’s testimony, Moore found that Roach had the capacity to understand the proceedings and assist his own defense.

In a handwritten motion mailed to the judge ahead of the hearing, Roach requested a new court-appointed attorney.

This is the second hearing in which he’s voiced displeasure with defense attorney David Randle.

“We have a conflict. I can’t have a discussion with him. He won’t do anything I ask him to,” Roach told Moore.

Randle told the judge he’s been with the case “since day one” and would prefer to stay on as counsel.

“I’ve bent over backwards to try to communicate,” he said, noting that Roach refused to see him on his last two visits to the jail. “I don’t take it personally.”

Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeffrey Haislip supported Randle’s desire to stay on the case, and pointed out that the doctors at Central State had noted in their report that Roach might employ delaying tactics like trying to replace his attorney.

Moore denied the motion, telling Roach that he had the right to hire his own attorney at any point, “but you don’t get to choose your court-appointed attorney.”

Roach will return to court Dec. 14 to be arraigned on 13 felony charges stemming from the April 30 standoff, including aggravated malicious wounding, shooting at an occupied dwelling, and assault of a law enforcement officer.