COLORADO SPRINGS, April 29 (UPI) — The man accused of killing three people last fall during an armed confrontation at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic is not mentally fit to stand trial on the nearly 200 criminal counts against him, a state health expert testified Thursday.
A Colorado court is trying to determine if the suspected gunman, Robert Dear, is mentally competent for trial. During Thursday’s court hearing, the mental health evaluator said it’s her opinion that he is not.
Jackie Grimmett, the state forensic evaluator who has examined Dear, testified Thursday that the suspect has mental deficiencies that profoundly affect his base ability to function.
“I do not believe Mr. Dear is competent to stand trial,” she said. “I don’t believe he regards himself as mentally ill.”
Grimmett said she and another expert interviewed Dear for more than two hours and agreed on the same conclusion. The ultimate decision will be made by Chief District Judge Gilbert Martinez.
Dear, 58, has been charged with 179 criminal counts for the five-hour shooting and standoff last Nov. 27 that resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to nine others.
Detectives claim Dear told them he believes the federal government has been spying on him for decades — and that he opened fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs because he felt agents were closing in on him there.
Martinez ordered a competency evaluation in December when Dear said he wanted to fire his attorneys and represent himself. The judge scheduled the next hearing for May 10.