Planned Parenthood Shooting Suspect Robert Dear Found Incompetent To Stand Trial

Months after confessing to killing three at a Colorado clinic in November, Planned Parenthood shooting suspect Robert Dear was ruled incompetent to stand trial, on Wednesday. State-appointed doctors claimed Dear suffered from delusions that the government was persecuting him for his anti-choice and anti-government sentiments, and Judge Gilbert Martinez has accepted the doctors’ findings, ruling that Dear is “not mentally capable of participating in and understanding the case against him.”

“That delusion is preventing Dear from working with his public defenders and having a rational understanding of the case,” Martinez wrote, referencing Dear’s paranoia regarding imagined persecution by the government. “Dear told state psychologist B. Thomas Gray that his attorneys are working for the federal government and are only handling the case for publicity.”

Martinez has mandated that Dear undergo treatment at a state mental hospital.

Further evidence of Dear’s delusions include his numerous outbursts while in court, once calling the judge a “filthy animal,” as well as his sincere belief in conspiracy theories about President Obama being the antichrist, ISIS, and Princess Diana. Dear has also claimed to have received visions from the “holy spirit.”

The alleged shooter declared himself “a warrior for the babies” following the shooting, and stated that he initiated the shooting with the intention of saving babies’ lives.

Dear is charged with 179 felony counts, which include murder and attempted murder. In January, he revealed to a local news station that he was motivated to initiate the shooting by his fear that the government was secretly persecuting him, and to protect “little babies.”

“I felt like they were going to get me and so I am going to pick where I want to make my last stand,” Robert Lewis Dear Jr. told CBS. “And I picked Planned Parenthood because it’s murdering little babies.”

The shooting took place just months after controversial and illegally obtained videos of Planned Parenthood doctors discussing fetal tissue donation surfaced, and at a time of escalated rhetoric in the Republican field that portrayed abortion as the murder of babies and Planned Parenthood as a dealer of “baby parts.” Former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina notoriously claimed to have seen footage of Planned Parenthood attempting to “harvest” the brains of a “fully formed fetus … its heart beating, its legs kicking.”

CREDIT: Brianne/Flickr

The shooting followed a rise in arson, vandalism, and violence toward abortion clinics across the country, and many reasonably believe the videos and politicians’ graphic rhetoric contributed to Dear’s decision to target Planned Parenthood. And, of course, there was former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz who claimed Dear was motivated by a “transgedered leftist” agenda. Oh, Ted.

To others, that Dear was able to kill three and still be taken alive by police to stand trial served as evidence of racial prejudice by police, after officers had recently shot and killed unarmed Black men on multiple occasions.

More than half a year later, the tragedy at the Colorado Springs clinic remains a dark reminder of the potential consequences of humanizing fetuses and even fertilized eggs at the expense of women and abortion providers. Killed in the shooting that also injured nine were  police officer Garrett Swasey, Army veteran Ke’Arre Stewart, and Jennifer Markovsky, all of whom had two children.

The Associated Press reports that while, for the time being, Dear will be sent to a psychiatric hospital, the death penalty remains a possibility: “[Prosecutors] have not decided whether to seek the death penalty against the man described by family and acquaintances as a man with a violent temper, anti-government sentiments and longstanding disdain for abortion providers.”