King Soopers mass shooting suspect to undergo competency evaluation at Boulder jail

A Boulder judge on Tuesday ordered the suspect in the King Soopers mass shooting be evaluated locally to determine whether he is mentally competent to go through the court system.

Boulder District Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke ordered that the competency evaluation for Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, who is charged with killing 10 people March 22 at the King Soopers grocery store in south Boulder, take place at the Boulder County Jail, not the state mental hospital.

She said she hoped doing the evaluation locally would be faster than sending Alissa to the state facility in Pueblo.

“This case needs to move on,” she said.

Alissa had been scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Tuesday, but his public defenders suggested he may be mentally unable to comprehend the court process, prompting Bakke to delay the preliminary hearing. During a brief hearing Tuesday, public defender Daniel King asked that Alissa’s evaluation be done at a state facility because he said employees there could do a more thorough job.

King said the defense team already has conducted its own evaluation of Alissa and believes it is “unlikely” that Alissa will be found competent to proceed. He indicated that the defense would object to any evaluation that finds Alissa is mentally able to understand what is going on in court.

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty requested the evaluation be done at the jail because of long waits and a backlog at the state facility. He reiterated that some of the victims in the case felt a “great deal of frustration” that the preliminary hearing was delayed late last week.

Alissa will return to court Oct. 19 after the mental competency evaluation is finished.

If Alissa is found to be incompetent, the criminal court case against him would pause and he would be committed to a mental health facility for treatment. If he was subsequently restored to competency, the criminal case against him would begin again.

 

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