Shooting Suspect Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2021 2:44 PM CDT
Updated Oct 11, 2021 4:44 PM CDT
Boulder Suspect Is Silent in Court
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa appears in a courtroom in the Boulder County Justice Center on Thursday.   (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via AP, Pool)

(Newser) Update: A man accused of killing 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, in March will undergo a second evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial. State experts initially determined that Ahmad Alissa, now 22, is not able to stand trial because of an unspecified mental health condition, but the judge agreed to a request from prosecutors to order a second evaluation, reports the AP. Our original story from March 25 follows:

The defendant in the Boulder mass shootings appeared in court Thursday for the first time. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa said nothing other than "yes," which was his answer when the judge asked him if he understood his rights, the Denver Post reports. His lawyers said they need more time to prepare his case. "We cannot do anything until we can fully assess Mr. Alissa's mental illness," Kathryn Herold told the judge. That can't begin, she said, until discovery—when the prosecution turns over its evidence to the defense. District Judge Thomas Mulvahill scheduled a status conference next, to be held in 60 to 90 days, per CNN. Alissa will remain in jail in the meantime, the judge said. Alissa, 21, is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder in the shootings Monday at a King Soopers grocery store and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

The prosecution also needs time. Investigators are still working at the site of the killings. "We'll be filing additional charges in the next couple of weeks," Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty told the judge. In the meantime, per CNN, the FBI is interviewing people who know Alissa and looking into his activity on the internet. Outside court, Dougherty said it could be a year before the trial is completed. Alissa, who was shot in the leg Monday, entered court in a wheelchair. Police tweeted Thursday that when officers went to the hospital where Alissa was being treated to take him into custody, they used the handcuffs carried by Eric Talley, the officer killed at the store. "Though this was a small gesture, we hope it is the start of the healing process that so many of us need at this time," the tweet said. (The suspect bought his gun days before the rampage.)

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