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

  • Judge withdraws from sex assault case after saying teen 'had a pretty face'

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - A Quebec judge has withdrawn from a case in which he said a 17-year-old victim of sexual assault was a little overweight, had a pretty face and was maybe a "bit flattered" at the interest shown in her. Source
  • Polish prosecutors to probe far-right march for hate speech

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, Poland -- Warsaw prosecutors say they have opened an investigation into expressions of xenophobia and racism voiced during a march by far-right nationalists earlier this month. The march was organized by far-right groups on Nov. Source
  • 1st-round leader Sebastian Pinera no sure thing for Chilean runoff election

    World News CBC News
    A strong performance by Chile's left-wing parties in Sunday's election left conservative presidential front-runner Sebastian Pinera facing a tight battle to win a December runoff and likely opposition to tax breaks in Congress if elected. Pinera came first with more than 36 per cent of the vote, but his two main leftist rivals made a stronger-than-expected showing, garnering a combined 43 per cent between them. Source
  • Cops nab alleged impaired driver in P.E.I. McDonald's drive-thru

    Canada News CTV News
    STRATFORD, P.E.I. - An alleged drunk driver who jumped the line in a McDonald's drive-thru proved easy to catch: He was still waiting for his food when police arrived. RCMP in Stratford, P.E.I., say the man went to the restaurant at about 10 a.m. Source
  • Piikani Chief challenges Stoney Nakoda bid to change Alberta place names

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A bid by a group of First Nations to have well-known places across southern Alberta, including Calgary, renamed in their language is being challenged by the chief of another Indigenous community. The Stoney Nakoda have applied to the Alberta government to change the names of Calgary and dozens other sites that they consider to be part of their territory. Source
  • Joshua Boyle's wife says captivity 'intolerable' for her children

    World News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- An American woman who endured five years of captivity in Afghanistan said she and her Canadian husband resisted their captors and did the best they could to raise young children in brutal conditions, using bottle caps and cardboard as toys and teaching their eldest son geography and astronomy. Source
  • Mother of slain kids lives in fear, won't know if killer allowed into community

    Canada News CTV News
    COQUITLAM, B.C. - The mother of three children killed by their father says she lives in constant worry for her safety following a board's decision over escorted outings for Allan Schoenborn. Darcie Clarke says in a statement she is disappointed in last week's ruling from the BC Review Board to leave it up to a psychiatric hospital to decide if Schoenborn should be granted the outings into the community. Source
  • Accused in Montreal terror trial won't present a defence

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Lawyers for two young Montrealers have told a jury they won't present a defence at their trial on terror-related charges. Jurors hearing the case of Sabrine Djermane and El Mahdi Jamali were informed of the decision this afternoon. Source
  • Germany faces uncertainty after coalition talks break down

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- Germany, Europe's largest economy and anchor of stability, is facing the prospect of months of political uncertainty after Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives were unable to form a coalition with two smaller parties, raising the likelihood of new elections. Source
  • EU agencies housed in Britain plan to move to Netherlands, France

    World News CBC News
    Amsterdam and Paris won the right to host the two EU agencies that must leave London after Brexit in a dramatic ministerial meeting in Brussels that ended in tie votes and the drawing of lots. The European Medicines Authority (EMA), a key player in the continent's healthcare industry, will go to Amsterdam, which topped the favourite Milan. Source