UNITED STATES NEWS

Judge rules man accused of killing 10 at a Colorado supermarket is mentally competent to stand trial

Oct 6, 2023, 4:32 PM | Updated: 4:36 pm

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado judge ruled Friday that the man accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket in a 2021 rampage is mentally competent to stand trial.

The decision allows the prosecution of Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa to move forward. Judge Ingrid Bakke ruled that Alissa, who has schizophrenia, is able to understand court proceedings and contribute to his own defense.

Bakke presided over a hearing last week to consider an August determination by experts at a state mental hospital that Alissa was competent after previous evaluations found otherwise. Alissa’s defense attorney asked for the hearing to debate the finding.

Alissa, 24, is charged with murder and multiple attempted murder counts after the shooting spree on March 22, 2021, in a crowded King Soopers Store in Boulder, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Denver. Alissa has not yet been asked to enter a plea.

Alissa allegedly began firing outside the grocery store, shooting at least one person in the parking lot before moving inside, employees told investigators. Employees and customers scrambled to escape the violence, some leaving loading docks in the back and others sheltering in nearby stores.

A SWAT team took Alissa into custody. Authorities haven’t yet disclosed a motive for the shooting.

Alissa’s mental condition improved this spring after he was forced under a court order to take medication to treat his schizophrenia, said a psychologist who testified for the prosecution this week. He was admitted to the state hospital in December 2021.

Schizophrenia can shake someone’s grasp on reality, potentially interfering in a legal defense in court. Mental competency does not mean he’s been cured.

Mental competency is also separate from pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, which is a claim that someone’s mental health prevented them from understanding right from wrong when a crime was committed.

Last year, the remodeled King Soopers reopened, with about half of those who worked there previously choosing to return.

United States News

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Judge rules man accused of killing 10 at a Colorado supermarket is mentally competent to stand trial