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Judges rule alleged 2015 Planned Parenthood shooter can be forcibly medicated

robert dear
Posted at 1:07 PM, Jun 10, 2024

COLORADO — Judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit have delivered a ruling on whether or not Robert Dear, the man accused of killing three people including a police officer in 2015 at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, could be forcibly medicated.

The ruling comes after the defense called for an appeal after a 2022 Sell hearing held after the government filed for Dear to be forcibly medicated. In September 2022, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ruled Dear could be involuntarily medicated, that decision was appealed until Monday's ruling upheld Judge Blackburn's decision.

The court cases stem from Dear's alleged involvement in killing three people at the Planned Parenthood off Centennial Boulevard in 2015.

Two of the people killed in the attack were accompanying friends to the clinic — Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and was a father of two, and Jennifer Markovsky, 36, a mother of two who grew up in Oahu, Hawaii. The third person killed was UCCS campus police officer Garrett Swasey, who responded to the clinic after hearing reports of an active shooter at the clinic.

You can read the court's full decision here.

According to our news partner The Gazette, the opinion from the court — written by Judge Nancy Moritz — goes into detail, stating why they believed the district court's decision to give more weight to the testimony of the prosecution's experts than the defense's was "not clearly erroneous."

In the published opinion from the 10th Circuit, Moritz addressed the claims from Dear's defense, but ultimately ruled that Blackburn was justified to give more weight to the prosecution's experts.

Moritz highlighted that the experts who testified for the prosecution had significant experience interacting directly with Dear that the defense's expert did not. Additionally, Moritz highlighted that the testimony and evidence presented by the prosecution's experts was thorough and not "exceedingly weak," as claimed by Dear's defense.

Moritz acknowledged that Blackburn in his ruling could have spoken at more length about why he didn't place more weight on the testimony of the defense's experts. Moritz wrote, "we conclude the district court provided sufficiently comprehensive findings."

The ruling from the 10th Circuit should allow for the process of forcibly medicating Dear to begin after a nearly two-year delay.

In December 2019, Dear was indicted on 68 federal counts, and after expressing the intent to represent himself, a competency evaluation was held, during this process Dear was moved to the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri (Springfield).

Dear was found incompetent due to a delusional disorder, persecutory type, beginning the long process to get to the ruling delivered Monday.

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Gazette writer Zachary Dupont contributed to this article.

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