Cole Ford...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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An update on him...

Attorney: Suspect healthier

Former NFL kicker recovering from schizophrenia, defender says


Cole Ford, a suspect in a shooting incident, appears in court in Las Vegas in 2004.

Cole Ford appears to be a changed man.

The former kicker for the Oakland Raiders, who stands charged with shooting a gun at the home of Siegfried & Roy in 2004, appeared in court Tuesday, cleanshaven and with his hair closely cropped. In prior court appearances, Ford was wild-eyed, and his hair and beard were long and unkempt.

Ford is in the midst of a recovery from paranoid schizophrenia thanks to a regimen of anti-psychotic medications given to him at a state facility, said Ford's defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Daren Richards.

"Look at him!" Richards said. "I didn't cut his hair and clean him up. That's all him. He's a totally different person.

"It shows that in most cases, schizophrenia can be treated."

Clark County prosecutor Frank Coumou confirmed late Tuesday that prosecutors are working on a plea agreement for Ford. It is expected to allow Ford to avoid jail time if he pleads guilty and complies with all of the terms of his probation, Coumou said.

He said he wants to make sure that if Ford is granted probation, he will be monitored closely and will have to continue to take his medication.

Ford had played for the University of Southern California football team and then for the Raiders. In his first year in the National Football League, he made eight of nine field goal attempts.

The following year, he made 77 percent of his field goals but missed a crucial kick in Tampa Bay as the Raiders were trying to make the playoffs.

In 1997, his performance on the football field turned poor, and he made only 59 percent of his kicks. He was cut the following year, and Ford's relatives started noticing changes.

"After Cole's release from the Oakland Raiders Football team, he became more and more reclusive and started showing signs of schizophrenic behavior," according to a statement from Ford's family. "From 1997 to 1999 our family had very little contact with him. After 1999, Cole disappeared from our lives despite many efforts and attempts to contact or find him."

He ended up living out of a van in Las Vegas. In 2004, authorities said he fired a shotgun at the home of longtime Strip headliners Siegfried & Roy. A witness told police that the gunman yelled that the entertainers should get out of the country.

In a psychiatric examination after his arrest, Ford said he believed in a global conspiracy involving his father, Siegfried & Roy, and the spread of disease, according to a psychiatric evaluation report.

"While watching Siegfried and Roy, he had a sudden realization that what was wrong with the world was linked to the illusionists' treatment, dominance and unhealthy intimacy he saw them having with their animals," psychiatrist Norton Roitman wrote in the report. "He saw their illusions as their power to distort and change reality. He felt they threatened (the) world, and he began trying to figure out how he could stop them."

District Judge Jackie Glass deemed Ford incompetent to stand trial, and he was sent to Lakes Crossing, a state facility for the mentally ill charged with a crime.

He was given psychotropic medications and eventually deemed competent to stand trial.

The prospect of Ford pursuing a not guilty by reason of insanity defense has been a possibility. Defense attorneys would have to show Ford could not distinguish that what he was doing was wrong at the time of the crime.

"Any involvement he had in this was clearly due to his mental illness," Richards said.

In court Tuesday, Ford appeared calm and lucid.

District Judge Jackie Glass, who has since deemed Ford competent, complimented the defendant on his turnaround.

"You look great," Glass said. "Keep up the good work."
WOW what a goof ball.

Guy has been in and out of trouble since leaving the Raides.
Ford pleads guilty to shooting at Siegfried & Roy home

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Groomed and polite, a former NFL kicker who has been hospitalized for mental illness pleaded guilty Thursday to shooting at the home of entertainers Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn in 2004.

Cole Ford, who last kicked for the Oakland Raiders in 1997, agreed to a felony plea that could result in a suspended sentence of one to six years in a Nevada prison if he continues mental health treatment at a center near his family's home in Tucson, Ariz.

"We've come a long way with Mr. Ford, and he's doing terrific," Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass said as she addressed Ford's mother, Amy Ford, in the courtroom gallery. The judge, who last year sent Ford to a state mental health facility in Sparks, also signed an order allowing a mother-son jail visit.

Outside court, Amy Ford, who turns 61 on Monday, said she didn't exchange words in the courtroom with her son, who she said she had not seen since 1999.

"But with his eyes, he said, 'Hi mom,'" she said. "This is a nice Mother's Day and nice birthday present."

Ford, 34, stood before the judge in a blue jail jumpsuit with his wrists shackled at his waist. But his cropped hair and a clean-shaven face were a marked contrast to his appearance during court hearings in late 2004 and early 2005 when he wore his hair past his shoulders and a full beard that extended to his chest.

A year ago, Glass ruled him incompetent for trial and rejected his attempts to plead guilty to charges that could have sent him to prison for 27 years.

"Yes, your honor," Ford responded calmly Thursday after Glass deemed him competent and asked him if he understood the plea agreement, which also requires him to pay restitution and have no contact with Fischbacher or Horn.

Ford pleaded guilty to one charge of shooting at a structure. Several felony charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, were dismissed. Glass set sentencing for June 29 but said he could be transferred to Tucson sooner, if a suitable treatment center was found.

Outside court, Clark County prosecutor Frank Coumou and assistant Clark County public defender Daren Richards called the plea deal a fair resolution to the case.

A publicist for the entertainers said they were aware of the agreement but had no comment.

Ford was arrested six weeks after the Sept. 21, 2004, drive-by shooting at Fischbacher and Horn's Las Vegas compound. Police said shotgun pellets shattered windows and left a hole in a wall. No one was injured.

A psychiatrist diagnosed Ford in November 2004 with an unspecified psychotic disorder, saying Ford blamed the illusionists for "dominance and unhealthy intimacy" with their animals.

"He felt they threatened [the] world, and he began trying to figure out how he could stop them," Dr. Norton Roitman said.

Ford had been drafted out of USC in 1995 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and kicked for the Raiders for three seasons. He was cut before the 1998 season after missing several crucial kicks in 1997, and his family said he grew more reclusive until they lost contact with him in 1999.

Authorities said Ford had been working as a laborer in the Las Vegas area before his arrest.
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