Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect not mentally competent to stand trial, doctors say

The suspect in the Boulder King Soopers mass shooting is not mentally competent to proceed in the criminal case against him, two doctors who evaluated the 22-year-old Arvada man concluded this month.

The Boulder District Attorney’s Office has asked for a second evaluation of Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who is accused of killing 10 people at the Boulder grocery store in March. If the request is granted, a second evaluation would further delay 20th Judicial District Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke’s eventual ruling on Alissa’s competency.

“In this first competency evaluation, defendant indicates an understanding of his charges, the potential sentence, the roles of the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney,” a court document filed by the DA’s office reads. “However, the doctors conclude that their ‘provisional’ mental health diagnosis of Defendant ‘limit(s) his ability to meaningfully converse with others.’ And that his ‘superficial responses’ to hypothetical legal situations indicate a ‘passive approach to his defense’ and ‘potential overreliance on his attorneys.’”

Alissa’s public defenders said in a subsequent court filing that prosecutors were misstating the doctors’ conclusions.

“It is notable that the prosecution does not accurately characterize (the report) when attempting to support its request for an additional evaluation,” their filing says. “For example, the prosecution contends that Mr. Alissa understands the potential sentence, but the report indicates otherwise. The death penalty is not a potential sentence in this case, and the report reflects his fixation on that as a sentence. Nor does Mr. Alissa understand the role of the judge, as the prosecution tells it. The judge does not decide the verdict, as Mr. Alissa told the evaluator.”

Alissa’s defense team asked Bakke to deny the prosecution’s request for a second evaluation, saying prosecutors were attempting to try “an obviously incompetent defendant.”

 

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