A Colorado judge has found the man responsible for the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in November 2015 mentally incompetent to stand trial. The accused will instead be sent to a mental institution to receive treatment.
After hearings in April and May, Judge Gilbert Martinez of Colorado's Fourth Judicial District ruled on 11 May that Robert Lewis Dear Jr, who shot and killed three people and injured nine others, was mentally unfit to stand trial and stated that "perceptions and understanding are not rational and are not grounded in reality".
He said Dear would be sent to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo for treatment, effectively putting the trial on hold. However, Martinez dispelled concerns and told reporters: "Competency is a determination of the defendant's current mental status." Hospital staff will be required to send a report to the court on his status every 90 days.
"Nobody has said that he is permanently incompetent. There are cases where people have been found permanently incompetent. Those are rare situations," the judge said.
Two state-appointed psychologists said the 57-year-old, who called himself a "warrior of the babies", suffers from delusion that the federal government has persecuted him for more than 20 years for his anti-government and anti-abortion beliefs.
He had previously told an investigating detective that the FBI cuts holes in his clothes and leaves feathers in his home. He believed Barack Obama was the Antichrist and that Robin Williams's suicide was related to the fact that he told a joke about the US president, two weeks prior to his death.
According to CNN affiliate KKTV, Dear yelled at the judge while being escorted out of the courtroom and ranted off: "That's called prejudiced! Prejudiced! Filthy animal!"
Planned Parenthood shooting
On 27 November 2015, Dear walked into the Colorado Planned Parenthood abortion clinic wearing a home-made ballistic vest made of silver coins and duct tape, and carrying four rifles. He shot one woman multiple times and then commandeered the clinic from which he continued to fire at the police force outside. The ordeal lasted close to six hours and resulted in the death of one police officer and two civilians.
Dear currently faces a total of 179 criminal counts — eight of first-degree murder along with numerous counts of attempted first-degree murder and assault.