A man accused of killing 10 people in a Colorado supermarket earlier this year has been found mentally incapable of standing trial for the time being
DENVER – A judge ruled on Friday that a man accused of killing 10 people in a Colorado supermarket earlier this year was mentally incapable of standing trial and ordered him to be treated at the Mental Hospital of the State to see if it could be restored enough to face prosecution.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, is accused of opening fire on a busy King Soopers in the college town of Boulder in March, killing a police officer, shoppers and several store workers.
Four doctors have now determined that Alissa was not mentally capable of participating in court proceedings, and he has “deteriorated” over the past two months in prison, District Attorney Michael Dougherty said. Given the consensus, Dougherty asked Judge Ingrid Bakke to send Alissa to the public psychiatric hospital in the hope that the drugs and treatment will enable her to become competent under the law – able to understand court proceedings. and to work with his lawyers to defend himself.
Dougherty did not disclose why experts determined Alissa was not competent, and the report explaining the assessment findings is not available to the public, but only to lawyers and the judge. Alissa’s lawyer, Kathryn Herold, said on Friday her client suffered from “serious” mental illness, but did not provide details. She also agreed to have him sent to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.
The decision halts virtually all proceedings in the case indefinitely. Alissa is not expected to return to court until March 15, nearly a year after the shooting, to discuss progress. There is a possibility that he will return before that date if doctors believe he has become competent, Dougherty said. Prosecutors will receive monthly updates from the hospital on his condition.
“I am 100% convinced that the day will come when he will be held fully responsible for what he did on March 22,” Dougherty said after the hearing.
Robert Olds, whose niece Rikki Olds, the supermarket’s front-end manager, was killed in the shooting, said he was frustrated with the latest delay, which delays the day his family can really start to cry in seeing Alissa tried. However, he also tries not to be too upset by the slowness of the justice system, to avoid being “revictimized” by Alissa, he said.
Still, Olds noted that Alissa seemed competent in her last hearing when he answered the judge’s questions.
âHe’s incompetent to stand trial, but the day he did all of that he was pretty competent in his actions and everything,â Olds said.
An earlier court-ordered assessment completed on October 1 found that Alissa was not mentally competent, but prosecutors requested that a second assessment be conducted with an expert of their choice, the last to find incompetent. An earlier assessment by a defense expert also found him incompetent, Dougherty said.
While none of those reports are public either, court documents regarding the October 1 assessment contained clues about Alissa’s condition.
Alissa was tentatively diagnosed with an unspecified mental health condition that limits her ability to “meaningfully converse with others” and he gave “superficial answers” to questions about hypothetical legal situations which indicate a “passive approach” of his defense “and” a potential over-reliance on his lawyers, “according to a prosecution request.
The defense, meanwhile, took issue with the prosecution’s earlier claim that Alissa understood the legal process, noting that he was obsessed with the possibility of the death penalty even though Colorado abolished it.
Jurisdiction issues have also delayed the prosecution of a man accused of killing three people in a 2015 attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
Robert Dear has been repeatedly found incompetent to pursue his cause. Federal prosecutors then charged him in 2019, but the jurisdictional issue continued to delay the case in federal court.
Jurisdiction is a different legal question from that of a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, which depends on whether a person’s sanity has prevented him or her from distinguishing right from wrong when. ‘a crime has been committed.
This story has been updated to correct the accused’s first name as Ahmad and to remove a reference to an Olympic distance runner killed in the shooting. The runner was working in the store but eventually escaped.