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Mental exam ordered for suspect in Colorado Walmart triple slaying

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A man who police said fatally shot three people at random inside a Denver-area Walmart in November was ordered on Wednesday to undergo a competency evaluation to determine if he is fit to stand trial, prosecutors said.

Adams County District Judge Ted Tow granted a request by lawyers for Scott Allen Ostrem to have him mentally evaluated, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Dave Young said in a statement.

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Ostrem’s lawyers declined to comment on the case.

Ostrem, 47, who has been held without bond since his arrest, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and 30 counts of attempted murder for the shooting spree inside a Walmart in the Denver suburb of Thornton.

Police said Ostrem walked “nonchalantly” into the store and opened fire, killing Pamela Marques, 52, Carlos Moreno, 66 and Victor Vasquez, 26.

No other shoppers or workers were injured in the shooting, but prosecutors charged him with attempted murder for discharging his weapon inside the crowded store with “extreme indifference.”

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Ostrem fled the scene and was arrested outside his suburban Denver apartment the following day after authorities identified him and his car from images captured by the store’s surveillance cameras.

Young told Reuters after an earlier court hearing that he would take into account the wishes of the victims’ families, among other considerations, before deciding whether to pursue capital punishment in the case.

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Separately, Ostrem has asked the judge to have his lawyers removed from the case so he can represent himself, a court official said.

Under Colorado’s competency statute, a judge must make a legal finding on whether a defendant is fit to stand trial after mental health professionals conduct an examination.

Another accused Colorado gunman, Robert Dear, who is charged with shooting three people to death at a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015, was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial after going through the competency process.

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The Colorado Court of Appeals this month upheld a lower court’s ruling that authorities could forcibly medicate Dear in an effort to restore him to competency.

Ostrem is due back in court in April for a review hearing, the district attorney’s office said.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘They love the meanest parts of him’: Conservative writer explains why evangelical Christians stick with Trump

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Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.

Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — whose evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.”

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‘Mental midget’ Stephen Miller absolutely demolished in MSNBC blast at Trump’s ‘misfit’ advisers

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Given the opportunity to discuss two profiles on White House adviser Stephen Miller -- published by the Washington Post and the New York Times late Saturday -- Democratic consultant Don Calloway jumped in with both feet to trash the man he called a "mental midget"."

Asked p on MSNBC about the controversial Miller's outsized influence on Donald Trump, Calloway didn't hold back.

"What goes through your head when you hear how much influence Stephen Miller has on immigration policy?" host Alex Witt asked.

"Stephen Miller is a mental midget, that's the best thing I can say," Calloway began to the sounds of laughter offscreen.

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Black woman reveals how Trump is ruining her marriage: ‘My white Republican husband is starting to hate me’

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A black woman revealed over the weekend how President Donald Trump and right-wing media are straining her marriage.

In a Twitter rant on Saturday, a woman going by the name Glass Butterfly hit a nerve by starting a discussion about the challenges of interracial marriage in the age of Trump.

"My white Republican husband is starting to hate me because the longer we live through this administration the 'BLACKER' I become," she revealed. "Any interracially and opposing politically affiliated couples going through this? Like...I have NO idea how to balance who we are..or are becoming."

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