Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter Mentally Incompetent

Robert Dear's team can now use his mental health as a defense
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 11, 2016 6:35 PM CDT
Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter Mentally Incompetent
Robert Lewis Dear talks to Judge Gilbert Martinez during a 2015 court appearance in Colorado Springs, Colo.   (Andy Cross)

A man who acknowledged killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic is mentally incompetent to continue with his criminal case, a judge ruled Wednesday, stalling the proceedings and potentially setting the stage for a mental health defense. The decision by Judge Gilbert Martinez puts the case against Robert Dear, 57, on hold until treatment restores his ability to understand the proceedings and assist in his defense, the AP reports. He will be sent to the state psychiatric hospital, and his mental health will be reviewed in August. Two psychologists have found he has a delusion disorder, which they said keeps him from trusting almost anyone, including his lawyers. Martinez agreed with their findings, writing in his order that Dear's "perceptions and understanding are not rational and are not grounded in reality."

Dear is charged with 179 counts, including murder and attempted murder, stemming from the Nov. 27 shooting at the Colorado Springs clinic that also left nine injured. During courtroom outbursts, he has declared himself a "warrior for the babies" and said he was guilty. He told investigators he attacked the clinic because he was upset with the reproductive health organization for "the selling of baby parts." Martinez ordered the competency exam in December after Dear announced that he wanted to fire his public defenders and represent himself. Two psychologists who interviewed Dear testified that they agreed he is not competent and that his delusion disorder makes him believe the FBI is persecuting him. (Read more Planned Parenthood stories.)

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