Accused Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter Indicted on Federal Charges

DENVER (CN) – A federal grand jury indicted a Colorado man Monday on charges of killing three people in a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015, though the suspect has not yet been deemed mentally competent to stand trial.

Robert Dear, 61, saw 68 federal charges added to the plate of 179 charges from Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District, including eight charges of first-degree murder.

According to Monday’ 13-page federal indictment, Dear entered the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on Nov. 27, 2015, armed with “four SKS rifles, five handguns, two additional rifles, a shotgun, more than 500 rounds of ammunition, and propane tanks.”

“Intending to wage a war” against the fertility clinic which provides abortions, Dear fired 198 bullets at patients and staff both in the parking lot and inside the facility, killing three, including a police officer.

Law enforcement engaged with Dear in a five-hour standoff, during which he shot at firefighters and police officers. He also attempted to shoot at and blow up the propane tank, according to prosecutors.

Dear previously told police he hoped he would be greeted by “aborted fetuses at the gates of heaven and they would thank him what for what he did because his actions saved lives of other unborn fetuses,” according to his arrest warrant.

Since his arrest, Dear has been held at the State Mental Hospital in Pueblo and evaluated quarterly to determine whether he is mentally fit to stand trial. Dear was nevertheless indicted because the statute of limitations will expire five years after the incident.

“The dozens of victims of this heinous act, as well as the Colorado Springs community itself, deserve justice,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn in a statement.  “After four years of lengthy delays in state court, and in consultation with the Fourth Judicial district attorney and victims, this office made the decision to charge Mr. Dear.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Dear insists on representing himself in court.

Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang advised Dear of the charges Monday. He is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pegeen Rhyne.

If convicted, Dear faces a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum penalty of death, although federal prosecutors have yet to confirm if they will seek the death penalty.

Several victims of the incident sued Planned Parenthood in 2016. The case remains pending before Judge. Christopher Jay Baumann in the Denver County District Court.

Planned Parenthood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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