Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shoots suspect back in court

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – The man accused of killing three people and injuring eight others in an attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood is back in court on Tuesday. Robert Dear must appear before a federal judge to determine if he should be medicated against his will.

Since 2016, Dear has been repeatedly found incompetent to stand trial. Over the next two days, a judge will determine whether unintentionally healing him will restore Dear.

KRDO’s press partners, 9News in Denver, were in court on Tuesday and to say that Robert Dear had several tantrums when discussing the forced medication. At one point, Dear even said, “They want to turn me into a zombie.”

When prosecutors suggested they wanted him on medication so he could help in his own defense, Dear said, “There’s no defense…I did it.”

During these hearings, information about his mental and physical health will be revealed, including specific diagnoses. Dear was diagnosed with delusional disorder in 2016.

Colorado Springs attorney Jeremy Loew said that in order for a judge to agree to coerced medication, there are four things prosecutors must prove.

“Attack number one: if there’s a significant government interest at stake,” Loew said. “Second prong: whether this significant governmental interest can be furthered. Third prong: can this significant governmental interest be furthered by coercive medication. And fourth prong: whether coercive medication is appropriate and can be successfully administered in this type of situation.”

Several times during his legal proceedings, Dear has been declared mentally incapable to stand trial, as he lacks a rational understanding of the case against him and is overly suspicious of his lawyers.

Neither prosecutors nor the defense challenged the findings, but Dear repeatedly insisted on his competence.

The decision, however, continues to delay his trial.

After years of stalled justice, many may be wondering if it’s possible that the federal and state lawsuits against Dear will ever be dismissed. Loew says, absolutely not.

“So in Mr. Dear’s case, he is charged with first degree murder,” Loew said. “But let’s say this was a case where the sentences were 1 to 3 years in prison, and let’s say this person was held in a public hospital or institution for the three years – the maximum sentence that “she might consider while they’re trying to get their skills back. Once the maximum sentence is reached, they’ll be released. Also, if it’s determined they can never be reinstated, the district attorney or the court may also dismiss the case. Now I can assure you that in this case, the people in the court are never going to dismiss the case. It’s just not going to happen. The federal government is involved, the state government is involved, and the loss of three lives and countless other lives were forever changed as a result.

Because he faces a life sentence, Loew says, if the drugs don’t help, Dear will likely remain in a facility waiting to be found competent for the rest of his life.

In September 2021, a judge ordered Dear to continue receiving mental health treatment in hopes that a trial could eventually take place. He faces 179 counts in state court for the attack.

Also in 2019, a federal grand jury indicted him on 68 new counts.

The federal hearing began Tuesday, August 30 at 9:30 a.m. and continues through September 1, Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Cher has a review hearing scheduled in a Colorado Springs court on September 30, 2022.

“If the judge finds, and I think he probably will, that forced medication is appropriate, they will try to force Mr. Dear’s medication,” Loew said. “If he’s on medication, they’ll continue to do competency assessments. And if he’s competent, they can take him back to court and continue the process, hoping to set a trial date and eventually go to trial.”

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