A Durango man who admitted to assaulting someone last year is now competent to face legal proceedings after spending months in a state mental health facility, court documents show.
La Plata County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Richard Foisel, 37, in April 2018 at the former sanctioned homeless camp behind the Durango Tech Center on suspicion of first-degree assault, a Class 3 felony. Law enforcement said in arresting documents that Foisel hit another man living in the camp in the back of the head with the butt of a Beeman pellet air rifle.
Foisel told law enforcement he hit Russell Gosnell, who is now 53, after the victim “began arguing with him and insulted Foisel’s military background,” according to arresting documents. Gosnell said he was shot in the back of the head, but doctors at Mercy Regional Medical Center said the “large, deep” cut was more consistent with Foisel’s explanation of what happened.
Prosecutors charged Foisel with second-degree assault, a Class 4 felony punishable by two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. District Court Judge William Herringer ruled Foisel incompetent to understand the legal proceedings in August 2018 – about three months after his arrest.
The judge ordered Foisel to seek inpatient treatment at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, where he was admitted in November.
Mental health professionals in Pueblo wrote seven reports about Foisel’s inpatient treatment between December and August. The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo told the court Aug. 30 that Foisel’s months of treatment have restored his ability to understand legal proceedings.
Judge Herringer scheduled a status conference for Friday to further rule on Foisel’s cognitive ability to proceed with his case.