Man charged in fatal Planned Parenthood shooting ruled incompetent to stand federal trial
A Colorado man charged in the 2015 deadly shooting of a Planned Parenthood clinic has been ruled incompetent to stand federal trial.
U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ruled on Thursday that Robert Dear is “suffering from a mental disease or defect” rendering him not competent to proceed with the trial.
Blackburn ordered that Dear be committed the attorney general’s custody for hospitalization and treatment to determine “whether there is a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future he will attain the capacity to permit the proceedings to go forward.”
Dear is accused of opening fire on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, declaring “war” on the organization.
Prosecutors said that Dear fired 198 bullets during the attack, which resulted in six deaths and eight injuries.
A federal grand jury indicted Dear in December 2019 on 68 charges in connection with the attack.
Dear is charged with 65 counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it a crime to use physical force to prevent someone from reproductive health services. He is also charged with three counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death.
Prosecutors said in December that they decided not to seek the death penalty against Dear.
Dear appeared before the court on Thursday virtually from a mental health facility in Missouri, according to The Denver Post.
According to the newspaper, he disagreed with the judge’s findings, shouting at one point “I’m opposing it; I’m not crazy.”
This wasn’t the first time Dear was found incompetent to stand trial.
According to a local NBC affiliate, Dear was repeatedly found to be incompetent to stand trial in state court where he faces 179 charges in connection with the shooting. He was first found mentally incompetent in May 2016.
A federal public defender representing Dear told The Hill that the office does not comment on its cases.
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