AP

Judge says alleged clinic shooter can be forcibly medicated

Sep 19, 2022, 3:12 PM | Updated: 9:16 pm

DENVER (AP) — A mentally ill man charged with killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015 because it offered abortion services can be forcibly medicated to try to make him competent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The prosecution of Robert Dear, 64, has stalled because he has been repeatedly found mentally incompetent since his arrest and he has refused to take anti-psychotic medication for delusional disorder.

During a three-day hearing this summer, prosecutors argued that medication had a substantial likelihood, based on research and the experience of government experts, to make Dear well enough to meet the legal standard for mental competency — being able to understand proceedings and assist in his defense.

Dear’s lawyers and experts, however, said the government’s plan did not take into account Dear’s age and his health problems, including untreated high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which could be worsened as a result of the medication’s side effects.

U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ruled that involuntary medication was the only realistic approach with a substantial chance of making Dear competent to stand trial and was also in the best interest of his overall health, both mental and physical.

“Under the proposed treatment plan, and again based on clear and convincing evidence, involuntary medication of Mr. Dear is not substantially likely to engender dangerous and unmanageable side effects,” he said.

Dear is represented by federal public defenders who do not comment on cases.

Dear, who has called himself a “warrior for the babies,” intended to wage “war” against the clinic because it offered abortion services, arming himself with four semi-automatic rifles, five handguns, two other rifles, a shotgun, propane tanks and 500 rounds of ammunition, prosecutors have alleged. He began shooting outside the clinic before getting inside by shooting his way through a door, according to his federal indictment.

According to experts who testified and Dear’s lawyers, Dear has persecutory delusions that cause him to believe that the FBI is following him because he called a radio show in 1993 to criticize the agency over the law enforcement siege against the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. He also believes his lawyers are working for the FBI and the judge is also in on the arrangement.

Dear mentioned the radio call in one of many outbursts during the recent hearing, where he also claimed the shooting was a “success” and told the judge to go to hell because he did not get to testify. He largely remained quiet after Blackburn warned him that he would not tolerate any more disturbances. The judge said he concluded the outbursts were not the result of Dear’s mental illness but of “selfish, childish and disaffected arrogance.”

After Dear’s prosecution bogged down in state court over the competency issue, Dear was charged in federal court in 2019 under the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Federal prosecutors have said they would not seek the death penalty against him if he is convicted, but life in prison instead.

Two of the people killed in the attack were accompanying friends to the clinic — Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and was a father of two, and Jennifer Markovsky, 36, a mother of two who grew up in Oahu, Hawaii. The third person killed was a campus police officer at a nearby college, Garrett Swasey, who responded to the clinic after hearing there was an active shooter.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

1 day ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

2 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

2 days ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

4 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant served indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

4 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Sponsored Content by

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Judge says alleged clinic shooter can be forcibly medicated