News Law and Policy

Shooter Arrested in Colorado Springs Attack: ‘I’m a Warrior for the Babies’

Jessica Mason Pieklo

Robert Lewis Dear Jr. told attorneys and the court Wednesday that he was guilty in the siege of a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three dead and nine injured.

Read more of our articles on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting here.

The man accused of killing three people at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs on November 27 said before a court Wednesday that there would be no trial.

“I’m guilty. There’s no trial. I’m a warrior for the babies,” Robert Lewis Dear Jr. shouted in the courtroom, where he heard the state’s charges against him, as reported by multiple outlets.

Dear reportedly said to officers after his arrest, “no more baby parts.”

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Prosecutors charged Dear with 179 felony counts, including first-degree murder. “Let it all come out. The truth,” Dear reportedly said while attorneys discussed the charges.

During Wednesday’s hearing, attorneys and Judge Gilbert Anthony Martinez discussed a motion by Dear’s attorneys to limit pretrial publicity of the case. When discussing the scope of a possible gag order, Dear reportedly shouted: “Could you add the babies that were supposed to be aborted that day? Could you add that to the list?”

“You’ll never know what I saw in that clinic. Atrocities. The babies. That’s what they want to seal,” Dear said.

The court did not immediately rule on his attorneys’ request.

Dear’s attorneys told the court they were exploring whether their client was competent to stand trial.

Daniel King, a public defender who also represented the Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes, is one of Dear’s attorneys.

Officials continue to decline to ascribe a motive for Dear’s alleged attack, despite his multiple outbursts in the courtroom and his comments to police after his arrest. One of Dear’s three ex-wives told reporters that Dear vandalized a South Carolina abortion clinic at least 20 years ago, telling her that he had put glue in the locks of its doors. Dear reportedly asked for directions to the Planned Parenthood center before the November 27 attack.

The New York Times reported that Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the United States attorney for Colorado, said that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also investigating the clinic attack. Investigators are trying to determine if Dear had ties to any anti-abortion groups or if anyone helped him plot the attack.

Dear faces eight first-degree murder charges resulting from the three shooting deaths. Dan May, the district attorney for Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District, explained in a news conference Wednesday that the multiple charges stem from there being distinct “theories” behind each of those charges to account for varying levels of intent prosecutors will need to prove.

For example, prosecutors filed three counts related to the death of Jennifer Markovsky, a 35-year-old mother of two children. One count alleges Dear acted with “deliberation” when he caused her death. The second count alleges Dear caused her death in furtherance of a burglary. Prosecutors charged Dear with burglary for unlawfully entering the Planned Parenthood building. The third murder charge related to Markovsky’s death alleges Dear displayed an “attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally.”

Prosecutors filed multiple murder counts related to the deaths of Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, an Iraq War veteran, and Garrett Swasey, 44, a police officer.

Most of the remaining charges are counts of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault.

The first-degree murder charges could carry the death penalty. Prosecutors will have the opportunity to make that determination after Dear’s formal arraignment, which has not been scheduled yet.

Dear’s next hearing is scheduled for December 23.

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