News Violence

Report: Alleged Clinic Shooter Says He’s Been Declared Incompetent to Stand Trial

Jason Salzman

Robert Lewis Dear Jr. told a Colorado Springs TV station Wednesday that a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation states that he is not able to understand court proceedings.

The man who was arrested after a deadly shooting spree last year at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs said Wednesday during a call to a TV station that he’s been declared incompetent to stand trial.

Robert Lewis Dear Jr. said he told his lawyers that he does not agree with the findings of the psychiatric evaluation and wants the trial to proceed, according to KKTV in Colorado Springs.

Officials involved in the investigation of the clinic shooting have said they can’t comment on the case, citing a gag order on law enforcement and attorneys issued in December.

“I’m for a speedy trial,” KKTV quoted Dear as saying. “This will help the victims’ families. Everybody deserves to have information about what’s going on and what caused these tragic events … but they don’t want that to come out because it might embarrass the feds and Obama.”

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A judge ordered the mental health evaluation after Dear repeatedly disrupted court proceedings in December, saying, “Kill the babies; that’s what Planned Parenthood does.”

He later called a reporter from jail to say he believed the FBI had tracked him for 22 years, and that he wanted to make his “last stand” at a Planned Parenthood facility because “it’s murdering little babies.”

After the first psychiatric evaluation is presented, the prosecution or the defense can request that Dear undergo a second state-administered mental health evaluation, intended to determine if he can understand the court proceedings.

Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge Gilbert Martinez will eventually rule on whether Dear is competent to stand trial.

“My lawyer just came to the jail and said, ‘Look, it says there on that page, Dr. Gray from Pueblo says that he’s incompetent to stand trial,'” Dear reportedly told KKTV Wednesday.

Pro-choice activists have stated repeatedly since the November 27 shooting that extreme anti-choice rhetoric has the power to push people to violence, and did so in this case. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) issued a similar warning and suggested toning down the rhetoric around abortion rights.

Dear, whose next court hearing is scheduled for March 23, remains in El Paso County Jail facing 179 counts, including murder.

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