Lawyer asks Colorado judge to send accused Planned Parenthood gunman to mental hospital
A lawyer for the man accused of killing three people and wounding nine others in a shooting rampage at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in November asked a judge on Thursday to commit the defendant to a state mental hospital.
The motion by the public defender assigned in the case was an indication that a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of Robert Lewis Dear, 57, had found him unfit to serve as his own attorney, as he had requested.
Rather than rule immediately on Dear’s competency, Judge Gilbert Martinez acted on the evaluation report by granting a prosecution motion for a further hearing on the matter on April 28.
Dear, a South Carolina native who has declared himself guilty and a “warrior for the babies” in previous courtroom outbursts, was ordered by the judge in December to submit to a mental examination after he demanded to fire his public defender and act as his own lawyer.
Entering the courtroom for Thursday’s proceedings, shackled and dressed in lime green jail garb, the bearded defendant was heard to say, “The Hebrew word for lightning is ‘barak,’ like Barack Obama,” but the meaning of his comment was not known.
‘Barak’ means lightning in Hebrew.
Dear sat slumped quietly in his chair through the rest of the proceedings.
He has been held without bond since surrendering at the end of a bloody five-hour siege on Nov. 27 at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, where police said Dear opened fire with a rifle outside the building, then stormed inside.
Killed in the rampage were a U.S. Army veteran and a mother of two who happened to be in the clinic’s waiting area, as well as a police officer.
It was the first deadly attack on a U.S. abortion provider since 2009.
Dear, charged with murder and other felony offenses in the shooting, has not formally entered a plea.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Colorado Springs; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bernadette Baum)