A Colorado judge on Thursday ruled that Robert Lewis Dear Jr., who has repeatedly confessed to shooting and killing three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood last November, is not competent to stand trial.
This is the third time Judge Gilbert Martinez has found Dear not competent to face the 179 criminal counts he is charged with, including murder and attempted murder, for his siege of Planned Parenthood on November 27, 2015. Dear was first ruled not competent in May, following two days of court hearings in which forensic psychologists employed by the state testified that Dear’s extreme political beliefs amounted to a delusional disorder sufficient to render him incompetent for trial.
The psychologists based their determination on statements Dear made to law enforcement officers, including insisting that the Obama administration was targeting Christians for persecution and that Planned Parenthood was “selling baby parts”—a debunked accusation pushed by an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress.
At the May hearing, Dear tried to argue that his attorneys were seeking a ruling of legal incompetence over his objections. Dear told Judge Martinez at the hearing that he wanted to stand trial so he could put forward a defense arguing that his actions were legally justified to prevent the greater evil of Planned Parenthood “selling baby parts,” a claim based on a series of discredited videos that claimed the reproductive health-care provider was illegally profiting from fetal tissue donations.
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State and federal investigations have not found any wrongdoing in Planned Parenthood’s fetal-tissue donation program.
Dear’s next competency evaluation will be held in February.