Colorado man deemed unfit for state court in abortion clinic shooting
faces federal charges
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[December 10, 2019]
By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - A man deemed mentally
unfit to face trial in state court for a shooting spree that killed
three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado was indicted on
Monday on federal charges stemming from the 2015 rampage, U.S.
The homicide charges contained in both the state and federal indictments
are capital offenses, but prosecutors have yet to determine whether they
would seek the death penalty if the defendant were convicted.
Robert Lewis Dear, 61, was taken into federal custody early on Monday at
the State Mental Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, where he has been
confined under court order for four years, and appeared later in the day
before a U.S. magistrate judge in Denver.
But the hearing was postponed until Friday after Dear, a onetime
self-employed art dealer, told the judge he wanted to represent himself,
Denver television station KMGH reported.
As he has during previous proceedings, Dear ranted in federal court
about abortion and the selling of body parts. "I am not crazy, I'm just
a religious zealot," the TV station quoted him as saying.
Dear was originally charged with multiple counts of murder and dozens of
additional offenses in the shooting at the Colorado Springs clinic that
killed a U.S. military veteran, a mother of two small children and a
police officer. Nine others were wounded in the five-hour siege.
In courtroom outbursts, Dear said he was guilty and proclaimed himself
"a warrior for the babies," prompting a state judge to order a mental
evaluation that led to him being declared incompetent to stand trial.
[to top of second column]
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, accused of shooting three people to death and
wounding nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last
month, attends his hearing to face 179 counts of various criminal
charges at an El Paso County court in Colorado Springs, Colorado
December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Andy Cross/Pool
An appeals court in January upheld the state's authority to forcibly
medicate Dear in an effort to restore his fitness for prosecution,
but the case has remained in legal limbo.
With a statute-of-limitations deadline looming on some federal
charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver decided to seek its
own indictment, containing 65 counts of violating the Freedom of
Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, plus three counts of using a
firearm in an act of violence resulting in murder.
The indictment alleges Dear went to the Planned Parenthood clinic in
November 2015 armed with an arsenal of rifles and handguns with the
intent to wage “war” because the center provided abortion services.
El Paso County District Attorney Dan May, the state prosecutor in
the case, said his office supported the federal indictment and
intended to eventually move forward with its case separate from U.S.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Additional reporting by Maria Caspani
in New York; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Tarrant and
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