Sears’ hearing set for Aug. 28More than a year after Minnesota Veterans Home Hastings resident Richard Jackson died as a result of being struck by another Veterans Home resident, his attacker, Randall Sears, age 45, is scheduled to go back to court for a hearing and then a trial.
By: Jane Lightbourn, The Hastings Star-Gazette
More than a year after Minnesota Veterans Home Hastings resident Richard Jackson died as a result of being struck by another Veterans Home resident, his attacker, Randall Sears, age 45, is scheduled to go back to court for a hearing and then a trial.
A pre-trial hearing for Sears will be held at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28, in Dakota County District Court. A trial is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Sears has been charged with two counts of murder in the second degree and one count of first-degree assault. The alleged assault occurred Aug. 4, 2008, on the third floor of the Veterans Home. Jackson died Aug. 24, 2008, at St. Paul Regions Hospital.
Dakota County District Court Edward Lynch ruled this spring that neither the prosecution nor the defense can argue or attempt to introduce any evidence regarding prior convictions or “any propensity for violence by the defendant or victim without first making an offer of proof outside the presence of the jury.” He also ruled there can be no opinion evidence from an expert on post traumatic stress disorder in regard to an impact on Sears' mind at the time of the incident.
Hastings Police officers were called at approximately 7 a.m. Aug. 4 to the Veterans Home. When they arrived, they were directed to the residential area of the third floor. Officers observed a male lying on his back on the floor being attended to by the nursing staff. The nurses had placed ice packs on either side of the man's head in an effort to reduce swelling. An officer assisted in holding the man's head steady as nurses attended to him.
Another man, later identified as Sears, approached the same officers. According to the complaint, Sears said, “You want to talk to me; I did it.”
When a second officer approached Sears and asked what had happened, Sears said, ”I did it ... you may as well handcuff me and take me to jail.” Before the officer had the opportunity to read Sears his Miranda rights, Sears refused, saying, “Fifth Amendment, constitution, only thing you need to know is this one statement, I did it.”
A member of the nursing staff told the officers another resident told them earlier to respond to the third floor. This third resident told officers he heard a loud noise coming from the hallway. When the resident looked out his door, he saw the male (Sears) standing over the injured man. The man (Sears) was apparently stomping on the victim's head and did not stop.
As a result of the brain injury suffered by Jackson, he was placed on a ventilator and was ventilator-dependent for survival. On Aug. 22, 2008, a tracheotomy was performed to assist Jackson's respiration. Because of leakage after the placement, additional surgery was performed to replace the tracheotomy two days later. During the surgery, Jackson went into cardio-respiratory arrest and could not be resuscitated.
According to the complaint, the medical examiner listed the cause of death as “respiratory arrest during tracheotomy revision due to cranio-cerebral injuries from a head trauma due to assault.”
Sears has been lodged in the Dakota County Jail in Hastings since the incident. Bail has been at $750,000.