A mentally ill man accused of killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015 because it provided abortion services could be forcibly drugged to try to qualify him to stand trial, a federal judge ruled Monday.
The prosecution of Robert Dear, 64, has been stalled because he has been repeatedly found mentally incompetent since his arrest and he has refused to take antipsychotic medication for a delusional disorder.
At a three-day hearing this summer, prosecutors argued that, based on research and the experience of government experts, medication had a significant chance of making Dear good enough to meet the legal standard of mental competence — being able to perform procedures. to understand and assist in his defence.
However, Dear’s lawyers and experts 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 exacerbated by the side effects of the medication.
Dear, who has called himself a “warrior for the babies” intended to wage “war” on the clinic because it offered abortion services, armed himself with four semi-automatic rifles, five pistols, two other rifles, a shotgun, propane tanks and 500 rounds of ammunition, prosecutors claimed. He started shooting outside the clinic before going inside by shooting his way through a door, according to his federal indictment.
According to experts who testified and Dear’s attorneys, Dear has delusions that lead him to believe that the FBI is following him because he called up a radio show in 1993 to criticize the agency over the police siege against the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. . He also believes that his lawyers work for the FBI and the judge is also involved in the settlement.
Dear mentioned the radio call in one of several outbursts at the recent hearing, where he also claimed the shooting was a “success” and ordered the judge to go to hell for not being able to testify. He remained largely silent after Blackburn warned him that he would tolerate no more disturbances. The judge said he concluded that the outbursts were not the result of Dear’s mental illness, but of “selfish, childish and disgruntled arrogance.”
After Dear’s prosecution stalled in state court over the competency issue, Dear was charged in federal court in 2019 under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994. Federal prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty against him if he is sentenced, but instead life imprisonment.
Two of the people killed in the attack accompanied 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 nearby university campus police officer, Garrett Swasey, who responded to the clinic after learning there was an active gunman.