Murder suspect Raymond Dhliwayo has been found incompetent to stand trial for his alleged role in the stabbing of Rensselaer Central High School Student Jared Valentine, after a competency hearing held on the afternoon of Thursday, June 7.

The Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office noted that the criminal case against Dhliwayo is still pending, despite the court’s ruling.

Incidents at the hearing

During the hearing, inside the Jasper County Courthouse, Rensselaer Police officers were in the courtroom, and the department later released a brief statement on Facebook about it. According to the department, a comment was made to a witness by a man in the courtroom, which resulted in this man being asked to leave the building.

The situation developed further when an argument occurred outside the courthouse, involving the same person, and law enforcement responded. Police met with the man and then found a weapon inside his vehicle. As a matter of policy, Jasper County Circuit Court Judge John Potter was required to notify the Indiana State Police, which have taken over the investigation, with assistance from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department and the RPD. After this development, Dhliwayo was transported back to the Jasper County Detention Center.

When asked to comment on the results of the hearing, the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office gave the following response:

“The criminal case against Mr. Dhliwayo is still pending before the court. Therefore, at this time, the Jasper County Prosecutor’s office has no comment on the court’s ruling.”

The murder of Jared Valentine

The crime Dhliwayo is accused of took place on the night of Thursday, Feb. 22, when Valentine was fatally stabbed while working inside the restaurant.

On Friday, Feb. 23, affidavits were filed by Daniel White of the RPD, documenting its initial investigation into Valentine’s murder. Details of what happened are contained therein.

The department received a 911 call to the scene at around 7:10 p.m. on the night Valentine died, reporting that a stabbing had taken place at Arby’s. Deputies of the JCSO also responded to the scene and began emergency medical treatment for Valentine, noting three wounds — two on his chest and one on the left side of his abdomen. He was taken to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Illinois by Prompt medics. Later on, at 8:54 p.m., the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department told the RPD Valentine had died from his injuries.

Dhliwayo had fled from the restaurant after the stabbing took place. With information from employees, officers found and arrested him at 7:52 p.m., near the Pak-a-Sak on South College Avenue. He was found sitting on the curb at that location with a sheathed six-inch filleting Rapala knife sitting on the ground next to him.

An officer spoke with Dhliwayo at the scene, while White recorded what was happening with a department issued body camera. Police Chief Matt Anderson was checking Dhliwayo for injuries when he was heard saying, “I’m sorry for what I did.” Dhliwayo said the knife was his and that he was sorry for hurting Valentine, who he specifically identified by his first name.

Later, while being interviewed at the Jasper County Jail, Dhliwayo said Valentine had made an insulting comment to him while they were working at Arby’s, but he would not say what that comment was. He said that he then went to his van, grabbed the knife and went back inside Arby’s.

According to a witness at the scene, Valentine walked inside the ice machine in the back of the restaurant, when Dhliwayo approached him from behind and began to stab him. Valentine turned his body to attempt to get away from Dhliwayo.

While being questioned at the jail, Dhliwayo reportedly expressed remorse for what he had done.

Many locals and people familiar with the area expressed shock, sadness and condolences to Valentine’s family. His own Facebook page quickly became a memorial wall filled with memories, condolences and messages for Jared, from relatives and friends. That same day, the Rensselaer Central School Corporation put out a statement on its official Facebook page, which it said was approved by Valentine’s family.

“Rensselaer Central High School and the Rensselaer community has suffered a great loss tonight with the passing of RCHS student Jared Valentine,” it wrote. “Rensselaer Central High School will have grief counselors available to students, staff, and others...in the RCHS Library. Please keep Jared’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”