A Powhatan County man who was shot and wounded by a deputy after firing at the officer and threatening to cut up his father with a chainsaw has “delusional thinking” and is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a county prosecutor said Wednesday.
Joshua Sprouse, 25, was indicted last week on nine felony charges in connection with the May 3 incident, including malicious wounding and assault on a law enforcement officer.
Dr. Evan Nelson, a clinical psychologist, determined after examining the defendant that he “seems to be having some issues with delusional thinking, and that delusional thinking makes it impossible for him to assist in his own defense,” Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Cerullo said Wednesday.
Craig Cooley, Sprouse’s attorney, has filed a motion to have the court declare his client incompetent to stand trial. Cerullo said he would not oppose.
“I’m certainly not going to object to the judge finding him incompetent at this point and ordering restoration services, because I trust Evan Nelson’s opinion,” Cerullo said. “So I will join in the motion” for Sprouse to be restored to competency to stand trial.
Cerullo said sheriff’s investigators determined that Sprouse fired more than 300 rounds from multiple weapons at his home in the 4200 block of Three Bridge Road. The defendant opened fire in multiple directions, including at passing vehicles, before attempting to shoot a deputy, authorities said.
Deputies responded to the address after receiving a report that Sprouse had threatened in a text message to kill members of his family and law enforcement.
In a criminal complaint filed by the suspect’s father, Roman Sprouse said he received text messages from his son on the day of the incident that threatened “me and my family,” and that his son would “come to my house in the middle of the night if I don’t give him money.”
“[He] threatened to kill me an [sic] use a chainsaw and bury me in backyard, and cut me up and pour boiling water on me,” Roman Sprouse wrote in the complaint.
Joshua Sprouse also “threatened to pump cops full of lead if I call them and torture me and mount my head on wall,” Roman Sprouse added in the complaint.
Authorities said they made multiple unsuccessful attempts to communicate with Sprouse after setting up a perimeter around his residence, and shutting down the road in the immediate area.
Sprouse ultimately exited his home and “attempted to shoot a deputy,” but was then shot and wounded by an officer. Sprouse was struck in his groin and pelvic area, Cerullo said.
The defendant underwent surgery but has largely recovered and now is being held at the Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville.
Cerullo said a hearing likely will be scheduled this month for a judge to consider the defense motion to declare Sprouse incompetent and receive restoration services.