The man accused of killing 10 people at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder more than two years ago is competent to stand trial, Boulder District Court Judge Ingrid Bakke concluded in a 13-page ruling issued Friday.
The criminal case against Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 24, can move forward, Bakke ordered, affirming the conclusion of state evaluators who found Alissa to be competent in August and rejecting his public defenders’ arguments that he is still too mentally ill to go through the court process.
Alissa, who has schizophrenia, is charged with carrying out a mass shooting on March 21, 2021, at the Table Mesa King Soopers. The criminal case against him stalled for nearly two years after he was found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.
But now, after undergoing involuntary medication and competency treatment, Alissa is competent and the case against him can move forward, Bakke ruled.
A competency evaluation considers whether a criminal defendant is mentally ill or developmentally disabled, and whether that mental illness impedes the defendant’s ability to understand the court process and assist in his own defense. Competency refers only to a defendant’s current mental capacity and is distinct from an insanity defense, which focuses on the defendant’s mental state at the time of the alleged crime.
Bakke’s ruling comes after a daylong competency hearing last week in which the judge listened to hours of testimony about Alissa’s condition and treatment, and in particular how a new medication he started in March seemed to greatly improve his functioning.
One psychologist testified during that hearing that Alissa described buying guns in order to commit a mass shooting, and that he indicated he wanted police to kill him during the attack. He also experienced auditory and visual hallucinations, testimony revealed, and had not been treated for schizophrenia before arriving at the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo months after the mass shooting.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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