The man who is accused of killing three people and wounding nine others in a shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado last year has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
The decision was made by El Paso County Judge Gilbert Martinez during a court hearing on Wednesday. Essentially, this means that the criminal proceedings against the defendant, Robert Lewis Dear, have been suspended. Dear will now be taken back to a state mental hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, for “restorative treatment.” His competency will then be reevaluated in 90 days.
The judge said he based his decision on the findings of two court-appointed state psychologists whose evaluations of Dear indicated that he was suffering from a psychotic delusional disorder. Due to his mental condition, they found hum unfit to stand trial. Martinez said he believed that although Dear could understand the legal proceedings from a factual standpoint, he was convinced he was unable to meaningfully assist in his own defense due to his delusions and paranoia.
The judge decided to have Dear undergo a psychiatric evaluation after he announced that he was firing his entire legal team because he wanted to represent himself. Dear insists that he is perfectly competent, but he has also had outbursts in the courtroom on multiple occasions, proclaiming himself guilty and a “warrior for the babies.”
A detective who interviewed him after he was arrested testified at a previous competency hearing that Dear said he believed FBI agents had been following him before the shooting.
In court on Tuesday, defense lawyer Dan King said that Dear had smeared his own feces on himself on at least one occasion. At another point, Dear drank his own urine out of a toilet because he was convinced the jail was trying to poison him. Dear called the judge “prejudiced” and a “filthy animal” before he was taken out of the courtroom when the hearing ended.
Dear has been behind bars since Nov. 27 when he surrendered after his deadly rampage at the Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs. Three people lost their lives that day: A mother of two who was in the waiting room, a veteran of the U.S. Army, and a police officer. Nine others were injured.
So far, Dear has not entered a plea and prosecutors have not yet said if they intend to seek the death penalty.
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