BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A judge ruled Friday that a man accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket last year is still mentally incapable of standing trial, further delaying court proceedings in this affair.
But the judge also said the assessment could change soon.
Experts from the Colorado Institute of Mental Health in Pueblo said there was a substantial likelihood Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, could regain his skills in the ‘reasonable future’ and remain competent on medication , Judge Ingrid Bakke said during a brief hearing. . It’s a prognosis she first mentioned in a March 11 scheduling order.
Alyssa’s prosecution has been on hold since December, when Bakke first decided he was mentally incompetent – unable to understand court proceedings and work with his attorneys to defend himself.
Alissa is being treated at the state mental hospital and was not in court for Friday’s hearing. The judge has scheduled a hearing for July 21 to reassess Alissa’s fitness to stand trial.
Bakke’s decision came nearly a month after Boulder, the home of the University of Colorado, marked the one-year anniversary of the attack that killed workers, customers and a police officer who rushed to inside the store.
Few details have been released about Alissa’s condition. Reports on his assessments are not publicly available, but a court filing dealing with one of the assessments from last year said he was tentatively diagnosed with an unspecified mental health condition that limits his ability to “meaningfully converse with others”.
Jurisdiction is a different legal issue than a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, which is whether a person’s mental health prevented him from understanding right from wrong at the time a crime has been committed.
After the hearing, District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the average time to restore someone to competency was six months. He declined to speculate when Alissa, who had been in public hospital for four months, might be considered competent.
Robert Olds, the uncle of one of the 10 people killed, front-end manager Rikki Olds, said Alissa had more rights than the victims. He remains hopeful that Alissa will be tried, but does not want to anticipate what will happen next because the legal process is moving slowly.
“Eventually it will happen, I hope,” he said of a lawsuit. “There’s always that outside chance that it doesn’t happen.”
Investigators have released no information on why they believe Alissa launched the attack or why he may have targeted the supermarket. He lived in the nearby suburb of Arvada, where authorities say he passed a background check to legally purchase the Ruger AR-556 pistol he allegedly used six days before the shooting.
The March 22, 2021 attack on a King Soopers grocery store shocked a state that has seen its share of mass shootings, including the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and the Aurora movie shooting in 2012.
Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51 and a father of seven, was shot and killed as he rushed into the store with a first team of officers. In addition to Rikki Olds, Denny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Tralona Bartkowiak, Teri Leiker, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray and Jody Waters were killed inside and outside the supermarket.
The remodeled King Soopers reopened in February, and about half of those who worked there at the time of the shooting have chosen to return.