David Zalubowski / AP
DENVER – Experts have found that a man accused of killing 10 people in a Colorado supermarket earlier this year was mentally incapable of standing trial at this time, lawyers said at a hearing on Friday.
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 policeman, shoppers and several store workers, including an Olympic hope long-distance runner .
District Attorney Michael Dougherty said four doctors have now determined that Alissa was not mentally capable of participating in court proceedings. He requested that Alissa be sent to the State Mental Hospital for treatment.
Dougherty did not reveal why experts determined Alissa was not competent. Alissa’s defense attorney, Kathryn Herold, said on Friday her client suffered from “serious” mental illness, but did not provide further details.
Judge Ingrid Bakke ruled after Dougherty revealed the result of the examination that Alissa was incompetent and ordered that he be sent to the mental hospital.
The decision halts virtually all proceedings in the case indefinitely. Bakke has scheduled another hearing for March 15, 2022, almost a year after the shooting, to discuss the progress made in Alissa’s treatment and to decide what to do next.
An earlier assessment found that Alissa was not mentally competent, but prosecutors requested that a second assessment be conducted.
Bakke ordered the first assessment after Alissa’s lawyers questioned her competence based on an assessment by their own expert.
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.