Accused in Planned Parenthood shooting wants to act as own lawyer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A man who acknowledges killing three people in an attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic defiantly told a judge Wednesday that he would not submit to a mental competency evaluation and wanted to fire his public defender and represent himself.

See Full Article

Robert Dear, 57, interrupted Judge Gilbert A. Martinez during a hearing where Martinez went ahead and ordered the evaluation to determine whether Dear is capable of deciding to represent himself.

Martinez told Dear it was his right to refuse to answer an evaluator's questions. Dear replied that if he did not co-operate, a doctor would declare him incompetent and "administer the drug treatment and make me a zombie."

"Do I sound like a zombie? Do I sound like I have no intelligence?" he asked the judge.

Dear, unkempt and wearing blue jail scrubs, repeatedly interrupted the status hearing held to discuss a range of issues related to the Nov. 27 shooting at the Colorado Springs clinic.

Martinez at one point warned Dear that whatever he said could be used against him and advised him to trust his lawyers.

"How can I trust my attorney when he says I'm incompetent in the newspaper?" Dear replied.

Martinez then cleared the courtroom of spectators to privately discuss the possibility of Dear defending himself.

When the courtroom re-opened, Deputy District Attorney Donna Billek objected to the competency evaluation, saying Dear had repeatedly made it clear through his statements in court that he understood the proceedings and the charges against him.

Martinez ordered the exam to take place at a state mental hospital, where a backlog of orders for such evaluations made it unclear when it could be completed.

Attorneys who are not involved in Dear's case say it isn't unheard of for defendants to refuse to participate in a competency evaluation, but they can be forced to attend even if they don't answer questions.

During the hearing, Dear repeatedly referred to the unresponsive courtroom behaviour of Colorado theatre shooter James Holmes, who was medicated during his four-month trial.

After Dear made his comment about being turned into a zombie by a doctor, he mimicked Holmes by slumping in his chair and referring to the "Batman guy." Holmes was convicted of opening fire at the premiere of a Batman movie.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Dear. Much of his legal team -- from lead attorney Daniel King, a public defender, to his paralegals -- also represented Holmes.

Dear faces 179 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and other charges. At a court appearance earlier this month, he declared himself guilty, said he is "a warrior for the babies" and objected to the sealing evidence in his case.

On Wednesday, he claimed he was being poisoned in jail and urged the judge to have a sample of his hair tested to "see if there's any drugs that have been put into my system while I've been in jail."

Dear's family and acquaintances describe him as a man with a violent temper, anti-government sentiments and longstanding disgust toward people who provide abortion services. He spent most of his life in North and South Carolina before recently moving to an isolated community in Colorado's mountains, where he lived in a trailer with no electricity.

Authorities have revealed little about the preparations behind the attack, where Dear held police at bay for more than five hours. Nine other people were injured in the attack that forced the evacuation of 300 people from businesses surrounding the clinic.

Dear's next court appearance is Feb. 24.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Engaged couple finds love -- despite a life prison sentence

    Canada News CTV News
    Pamela Grieve met the man who would become her fiancé through an online profile. Then she went on a blind date with him. Yes, nothing unusual there. But this is a very different love story. Source
  • Alta. RCMP officer charged with 2 counts of sexual assault, breach of trust

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- An Alberta Mountie has been charged with sexual assault and other offences following an investigation by the province's police watchdog. Susan Hughson, with the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, said the allegations involve three women in separate incidents. Source
  • Venezuela court says it can take over congress' powers

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled it can take over the powers of congress in what opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro as well as foreign governments denounced as the latest step toward installing a dictatorship in this South American nation. Source
  • Bush on Trump speech: 'That was some weird s---'

    World News Toronto Sun
    Former President George W. Bush was throwing shade at Donald Trump at the billionaire’s inauguration. According to New York Magazine, when Trump finished his speech - loaded with terms like “American carnage” - the former commander-in-chief dropped decorum. Source
  • Lock laundry chutes: Jury comes back with 1 recommendation in Machiskinic inquest

    Canada News CBC News
    The jury for the coroner's inquest into the death of a woman who fell down a Regina hotel laundry chute has concluded her manner of death is "undetermined." That's contrary to the finding of a chief coroner, who concluded it was an accident. Source
  • Brothers who tip scales at 1,350 lbs. ready to lose weight

    World News Toronto Sun
    Two junk food-loving brothers who weigh a staggering 1,350 lbs. combined are meeting a weight-loss whiz to drop the pounds. Steven Assanti, 33, weighs 749 lbs. and was once kicked out of a hospital for ordering a pizza. Source
  • Israeli cabinet approves 1st new settlement in 2 decades

    World News CBC News
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet has approved Israel's first new settlement in two decades to compensate for the court-ordered demolition of a settler outpost. Netanyahu said late Thursday the decision passed unanimously to replace Amona, honouring a promise he made after it was destroyed earlier this year. Source
  • Officials warn about ice jam runoff causing floodwaters to rise in Manitoba

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG - Flood officials say ice jams and spring runoff are causing water to rise across much of southern Manitoba. The Red River is expected to crest in Winnipeg this weekend and officials say ice may prevent them from operating the floodway which diverts water around the capital. Source
  • Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum sentenced to one year in prison for corruption

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — Former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum was sentenced Thursday to one year behind bars on corruption-related charges and then promised he would emerge a better man when released. He also received two years’ probation. Applebaum, 54, was handcuffed before he addressed the court and told the judge he would be a model inmate. Source
  • Ousted South Korean president jailed over corruption allegations

    World News CBC News
    A South Korean court on Friday approved a warrant to arrest ousted president Park Geun-hye, the country's first democratically elected leader to be thrown out of office, on accusations of bribery and abuse of power. Source