Judge says alleged Planned Parenthood shooter can be forcibly medicated
DENVER (KKTV) - A federal judge has ruled the self-proclaimed Planned Parenthood shooter can be forcibly medicated, potentially opening the door for the case to finally move forward after almost seven years.
The defendant at the center of the case, Robert Dear, is accused of driving two hours from the town of Hartsel to the Planned Parenthood on Centennial Boulevard on Nov. 27, 2015, with the intention of “waging war” on the clinic. Once there, he allegedly shot at the people parked next to his truck and then forced his way into the clinic; for the next five hours, the accused allegedly traded fire with police while barricading himself inside the building. When the suspect was finally detained, an Iraq War veteran, a young mother from Hawaii, and a UCCS police officer were dead and nine others including four law enforcement officers were wounded. Authorities said the gunman fired 198 bullets during the attack and tried to cause an explosion with a propane tank he had hauled to the site.
Dear has openly admitted to the shooting since his first court appearance, but despite that, the case has languished in court for years as over and over he’s been found incompetent to stand trial. He has been receiving treatment at the state mental hospital in Pueblo for nearly as long as he’s been in custody.
The medication ruling came nearly a month following a hearing over the matter. The judge considered the medication question under the basis of the 2003 Supreme Court ruling Sell v. United States, which established a four-part test to determine whether or not it’s okay to order a defendant to be involuntarily medicated to stand trial:
1. Does the government have an important interest to bring this person to trial?
2. Medication must be medically beneficial to the person.
3. There can’t be other less intrusive means of treating the person.
4. Has to be a reasonable likelihood that the forced medication will return the person to competency.
Dear’s lawyers and experts said the government’s plan did not take into account Dear’s age and his health problems.
The order, obtained by KKTV 11 News, can be read below:
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