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Judge Rules Accused Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Shooter Not Competent for Trial

Jessica Mason Pieklo

A ruling Wednesday means Robert Lewis Dear Jr. will not stand trial for a November siege at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three dead.

A Colorado judge ruled Wednesday that accused Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr. isn’t legally competent to stand trial.

The ruling came after two days of hearings, in which forensic psychologists argued that Dear’s extreme political beliefs—that the federal government was persecuting Christians and targeting him for surveillance—were a delusional disorder sufficient to render Dear legally incompetent to stand trial.

Those beliefs, psychologists argued, made it impossible for Dear to cooperate with his attorneys and to participate in his defense.

Dear argued that his attorneys were ignoring his representation requests and seeking a ruling of legal incompetence despite his objections. Dear said during his competency hearings that he wants to put forward a defense that his actions were legally justified because they prevented the greater evil of Planned Parenthood “selling baby parts.” (Multiple state and federal investigations have not found any wrongdoing with regard to the organization’s fetal tissue donation program.)

Dear faces 179 criminal counts, including murder and attempted murder, for the November 27, 2015 attack that left three dead.

As a result of Wednesday’s ruling, Dear will not immediately stand trial for the November siege. He will instead be housed at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo to be treated for a delusional disorder until such time as the court determines Dear is fit to stand trial.

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