Planned Parenthood shooter to get mental evaluation
Colorado Springs, Colo. — A man who acknowledges killing three people in an attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic defiantly told a judge Wednesday that he would not submit to a mental competency evaluation and wanted to fire his public defender and represent himself.
Robert Dear, 57, interrupted Judge Gilbert A. Martinez at a status hearing as the judge was ordering the evaluation.
Dear said competency evaluators would want to “administer the drug treatment and make me a zombie.”
“Do I sound like a zombie? Do I sound like I have no intelligence?” he asked the judge.
Martinez advised Dear to trust his lawyer.
“How can I trust my attorney when he says I’m incompetent in the newspaper?” Dear replied.
Prosecutors also objected to the competency evaluation. One argued that Dear had made it clear that he understood the proceedings and the charges against him.
A backlog of orders for such evaluations made it unclear when the exam could be completed.
Attorneys who are not involved in Dear’s case say it isn’t unheard of for defendants to refuse to participate in a competency evaluation, but they can be forced to attend even if they don’t answer questions.
During his remarks about the evaluation, Dear slumped in his chair as if to mimic Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, who sat stoically and unresponsive through a long trial earlier this year.
Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Dear. Much of his legal team — from lead attorney King to his paralegals — also represented Holmes.
Dear faces 179 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and other charges stemming from the Nov. 27 attack at the clinic. At a court appearance earlier this month, he called himself “a warrior for the babies” and objected to the sealing evidence in his case.
In addition, he repeatedly interrupted his own attorneys and accused them of conspiring with Planned Parenthood to cover up wrongdoing by the reproductive health organization.
Dear’s family and acquaintances describe him as a man with a violent temper, anti-government sentiments and longstanding disgust involving people who provide abortion services. He spent most of his life in North and South Carolina before recently moving to an isolated community in Colorado’s mountains, where he lived in a trailer with no electricity.
Authorities have revealed little about the preparations behind the attack.
Dear held police at bay for more than five hours in the attack that also wounded nine people and caused the evacuation of 300 people from businesses surrounding the clinic.
Dear’s next court appearance is Feb. 24.