Convicted '75 killer of two cops seeks release

Alan Randall killed two Summit officers in a 1975 ambush at the town hall when he was 16


By Laurel Walker
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Waukesha, Wis. — For the fifth time since his conviction for killing two Summit police officers in a 1975 ambush at the town hall when he was just 16, Alan Randall is seeking release from a state mental institution.

Randall, 54, last sought release in 2008, which was denied by Judge Lee S. Dreyfus after a trial. The decision was appealed but upheld last year. Previously he had unsuccessfully sought release with conditions in 1990, 1991 and 1995.

Asked in an interview what had changed since the last rejection, Randall's attorney, Craig Powell, said three years had passed with Randall demonstrating perfect behavior. He said Randall now works part time for a garden center outside the institution. He also maintains grounds at the Mendota Mental Health Institution, where he lives and volunteers his time, Powell said. In a brief court hearing Thursday, Judge Donald J. Hassin Jr. ordered mental examinations by two psychological experts who have examined Randall multiple times in the past. He also set a court date for a jury trial on Jan. 22.

In earlier testimony, the psychological experts testified that Randall has not had a mental illness diagnosis for most of his confinement. The petition for his release states he is not getting medication or treatment for mental illness or disorder as has been the case for decades.

"There is no doctor who will provide an opinion that he suffers from a mental disease or defect," the petition reads. "His years of working in the community unsupervised without incident demonstrate that he is not a danger to himself or others." On Thursday, District Attorney Brad Schimel agreed on the required mental examinations but added, "The issue has not been that he is mentally ill. It's that he is dangerous."

Randall was a teenager when he was charged in 1976 with killing his neighbor, Ronald Hoeft, and Summit police officers Robert Atkins and Wayne Olson. Because of evidentiary challenges, he was not convicted of the Hoeft murder. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and in 1977 was convicted of the police murders, four burglaries and a car theft.

A Waukesha County prosecutor stipulated in 1977 that Randall was mentally ill and therefore not responsible for the crimes he committed. He was sent to Central State Hospital, where the judge in the case said Randall likely would remain for life because his schizophrenic paranoia had no cure.

He was transferred to Winnebago Mental Health Institution in 1981, when the mental illness diagnosis was dropped and where he had off-grounds, unescorted privileges, earned 73 college credits at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and held a full-time job at a framing gallery.

In 2006 he was transferred to a group-home-type setting at the Mendota Mental Health Institution in Madison, where he remains.

Copyright 2012 Journal Sentinel Inc.

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