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Judge rules Robert Dear incompetent to stand trial, next hearing in March

Posted at 9:23 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 22:40:52-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The confessed gunman in the 2015 Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs has once again been deemed incompetent to stand trial in state court.

On Thursday morning the state district judge kept the incompetency ruling for 61-year-old Robert Dear due to the lack of new information to prove otherwise.

Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys received an updated report from the State Mental Hospital in Pueblo. According to District Attorney Dan May, they have been trying to contact the hospital for an updated report but haven't heard back.

Prosecutors said Dear is in federal custody in Denver for an undetermined amount of time. Last month, Dear was indicted by a federal grand jury on new charges and he insisted he is competent to stand trial.

Dear went before a federal magistrate judge after he was taken into custody Dec. 9 at the State Mental Hospital in Pueblo, where he has been held as his state mental competency hearings have been ongoing.

Dear did speak in court and told the federal magistrate judge, "I am not crazy. I am just a religious zealot."

He is facing 65 counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and three counts of use of a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death where the killing is a murder, according to the indictment .

Dear has been undergoing treatment at the state mental hospital in Pueblo every 90 days for years after he was charged with 179 counts, including murder and attempted murder, in the shooting.

He has been deemed incompetent to stand trial and represent himself each time – the first judgment coming in May 2016. A judge ruled in 2017 he could be forcibly given an anti-psychotic medicine.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that if Dear is convicted in the federal case, he could potentially face the death penalty, but if that is not considered, he could face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

Previous competency hearings took place every 90 days, but under new law will be set for every 60 days.

Dear's next competency review is scheduled for March 13 at 8:30 a.m.