Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect ruled incompetent to stand trial
The Arvada man charged with opening fire in a Boulder King Soopers store and killing 10 people is not competent to stand trial and must complete mental health treatment before the criminal case against him can go forward, a judge ruled Friday.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, will be transported to the state hospital in Pueblo for his treatment, Boulder County Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke ruled in a hearing Friday. The incompetency finding will delay progression in the case for at least three months.
Alissa faces 115 criminal charges, including 10 counts of first-degree murder, in connection with the March 22 mass shooting. Neither the defendant nor law enforcement have publicly provided a motive for the shooting.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the defendant’s competency had backslid in recent months, but he is confident the 22-year-old can be restored to competency with treatment and medication.
The nature of the defendant’s mental health issues were not discussed in the Friday hearing, though the defendant’s attorney classified it as a “serious mental illness”
Bakke on Oct. 14 ordered the suspect to undergo a second competency exam after the first exam found him not competent to proceed. The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office requested the second exam after the first one found Alissa not competent to stand trial. All four psychologists who examined the suspect found him incompetent to stand trial.
In a competency exam, psychologists decide whether a defendant is mentally ill or developmentally disabled and whether those conditions keep the defendant from understanding the legal process. For a person to be found competent, the examiners must determine that the defendant rationally understands the proceedings and that defendants can assist their attorneys in the case.
Prosecutors in the Boulder King Soopers case previously wrote in court filings that psychologists found the defendant incapable of working with his attorneys.
The case against the shooting suspect will be placed on hold until psychologists find the defendant competent, which can take months or years.
The criminal case against Robert Dear, who admitted to killing three people and wounding eight others at a Colorado Springs abortion clinic in 2015, has stalled for more than five years due to competency issues. Some defendants are found to be permanently incompetent.
Officials at the state hospital in Pueblo will provide updates on the King Soopers shooting suspect’s progress to the court every 30 days. Bakke will next review the defendant’s status at a March 15 hearing.
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