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Sterling woman ruled incompetent to stand trial

Sterling, murder
Rosangela Spradling

A Sterling woman accused of murdering her husband has been declared incompetent to stand trial.

The ruling adds another hurdle in the case of Rosangela Spradling, 42, who is accused of killing her husband, Steven Spradling, then a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police officer, May 17, in their Sterling home.

According to earlier testimony, the two had argued earlier that evening, with the confrontation becoming physical when a drunk Steven Spradling choked his wife and threw her to the ground. When her husband returned to drinking, she sent their two children, both under 10, to their bedrooms, then grabbed her husband's service weapon. She fired a test shot in the computer room before shooting him twice.

At the time of his death, Steven Spradling's blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit, somewhere in between .20 and .24.

This wasn't the first sign of trouble at the home; a spokesperson for the LCSO said there had been multiple calls to the home since 2003 for domestic issues and problems with neighbors.

In 2013, Spradling underwent a sanity evaluation at the behest of her defense team, composed of public defenders Robert Bruce and Elizabeth Lancaster. She was diagnosed with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, but was determined to have been mentally sound during the commission of the murder.

In February, senior Commonwealth's Assistant Attorney Gigi Lawless and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Angela Vernail filed a motion for a competency hearing to determine if Spradling is able to stand trial.

Unlike the first mental evaluation, which determined whether Spradling was competent at the time of the shooting, that hearing was to determine whether or not Spradling was competent now.

While Spradling has for now been ruled incompetent to stand trial, Bruce told Judge Benjamin N.A. Kendrick that he believes Spradling “can be restored to competency relatively quickly.”

Motions for restoration were filed in March 25 in court, and Spradling will be taken to a nearby mental hospital.

Additionally, Bruce and Lancaster will be in court March 28 to file for a continuance and request for funds for witnesses, likely pushing back the trial, originally scheduled to begin May 23.

A hearing is scheduled for April 23, where the court will find whether Spradling has been returned to competency.


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