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

FILE - Crystal Baziel holds the Pan-African flag Monday, June 19, 2023, during Reedy Chapel A.M.E C...

Associated Press

The beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth

For more than one-and-a-half centuries, the Juneteenth holiday has been sacred to many Black communities. It marks the day in 1865 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas found out they had been freed — after the end of the Civil War, and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Since it was designated a federal […]

19 hours ago

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

5 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

6 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

9 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

12 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

23 days ago

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.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Judge says alleged clinic shooter can be forcibly medicated