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Man Who Admitted to Planned Parenthood Killings Won’t Stand Trial Yet

Jessica Mason Pieklo

A Colorado judge has ruled that Robert Lewis Dear Jr. remain in a psychiatric facility rather than undergo criminal proceedings.

Admitted Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr. remains legally incompetent to stand trial, a Colorado judge ruled Tuesday. 

Fourth Judicial District Chief Judge William Bain ordered that Dear remain at the Colorado Mental Health Institute Pueblo until he is deemed competent to face the charges against him. Dear has been housed at the facility since May 2016, when a different judge ruled that Dear remain there until a court finds him able to stand trial. Dear, who is diagnosed with delusional disorder, is charged with 179 counts in a November 27, 2015, shooting that killed three people and wounded nine others at Colorado Springs’ only Planned Parenthood facility.

During his surrender after a five-hour standoff with police, Dear confessed to planning and carrying out the siege. He has repeated his confession at court hearings and to the media. Dear proclaimed himself a “warrior” for “babies” and reportedly shouted “no more baby parts” when he was arrested, echoing the deceptively edited and debunked videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials selling fetal tissue for profit. Those videos were part of a nationwide propaganda campaign carried out by an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress, which has worked closely with Republican lawmakers. 

Under state law, Dear must be evaluated every 90 days by state psychiatric evaluators to determine if he has reached legal competency for trial. So far Dear has been ruled incompetent after each evaluation. In January the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Dear can be medicated against his will in order to be competent enough to stand trial. It is not clear if that treatment had started as of Tuesday’s evaluation. 

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Dear’s next competency hearing will be May 21. 

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