Suspect in Mass Killing at Colorado Grocery Store Is Mentally Incompetent, Judge Says
The man accused of murdering 10 people in Boulder, Colo., in March will be sent to a state hospital “to restore his competency as soon as possible so that we may proceed forward with the case,” prosecutors said.,
A judge on Friday found that the man charged with fatally shooting 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., in March is mentally incompetent to stand trial and has ordered that he be treated at a state hospital, prosecutors said.
Over the past three months, four doctors have concluded that the defendant, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, is incompetent to stand trial, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
“Given that all the doctors are in agreement, holding a hearing on the defendant’s competency is unnecessary and would not be in the interest of justice or judicial efficiency,” the district attorney’s office said. “Therefore, we did not request an additional hearing and requested that the defendant be transferred to the State Hospital in Pueblo, Colo., in order to restore his competency as soon as possible so that we may proceed forward with the case.”
Mr. Alissa was armed with a military-style semiautomatic rifle and a pistol when he walked into a King Soopers store on March 22 and opened fire, according to the authorities. Ten people were killed, as shoppers and employees ran for cover. Mr. Alissa, who lived in Arvada, Colo., a nearby suburb, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, which in Colorado carries a penalty of life imprisonment without parole.
At Mr. Alissa’s first court appearance in March, Kathryn Herold, a public defender who was among those assigned to represent him, raised the possibility that he had a mental illness when she asked the judge to postpone the next court date.
“We cannot do anything until we are able to fully assess Mr. Alissa’s mental illness,” Ms. Herold said at the hearing.
Ms. Herold did not immediately respond to a message on Friday night.
According to court records, two doctors who evaluated Mr. Alissa concluded that his “superficial responses” to hypothetical legal situations indicated a “passive approach to his defense” and “potential overreliance on his attorneys.”
On Friday, Judge Ingrid S. Bakke of the 20th Judicial District of Colorado ordered the Colorado Department of Human Services to provide updates on Mr. Alissa every 30 days, according to the district attorney’s office. She also scheduled a hearing on March 15, 2022, to review his case, prosecutors said.
“Once the defendant’s competency is restored, he will be returned to Boulder and this case will progress forward,” the district attorney’s office said. “Our office will continue to fight for justice in this case.”