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More than a year after his arrest for allegations of rape, kidnapping and the abduction of a 13-year-old girl, a tentative trial date has been set for Rodney Russell.
Russell, 42, of Loudonville, appeared in court via Skype as his attorney, James Mayer, and assistant county prosecutor Victor Perez appeared in a Ashland County Common Pleas courtroom last week.
The hearing was intended to be for the questioning of an evaluator at Heartland Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Massillon on the topic of a not guilty by reason of insanity plea that was filed on Russell's behalf by his then-attorney Rolf Whitney.
Russell had been found incompetent to stand trial after an initial evaluation at District V Forensic Diagnostic Center in Mansfield.
During a hearing on Nov. 29, 2016, Russell was reportedly ruled competent to stand trial after spending time at Heartland.
Up in the air was an evaluation based on the not guilty by reason of insanity plea after Russell refused to participate in an evaluation, attorney Mayer said at a hearing on April 17.
"I can't have any meaningful discussion," Mayer said at the time. Judge Ronald P. Forsthoefel, Ashland Common Pleas, asked that Mayer continue to work with Russell.
"We need to move one way or the other," Forsthoefel said at the April 17 hearing.
An evidentiary hearing was scheduled for last Tuesday, during a criminal status hearing that took place via video on May 15.
At the hearing, the doctor who was subpoenaed to discuss an evaluation with Russell was testifying in another trial in a different county. The evidentiary hearing was pushed to 11 a.m. June 7.
A trial date was set "tentatively" for Aug. 22.
"At this point, I have nothing that says we shouldn't be going to trial," Forsthoefel said.
Russell was arrested May 28, 2016, after police found him in an unoccupied home on County Road 1356. Police were alerted to the rape of a 13-year-old girl by a family member of the victim.
Russell has been indicted on 10 charges, including four counts of rape; three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor; one count of kidnapping, abduction and burglary; and two counts of criminal damaging or endangering.