Colorado Clinic Shooter Wants to Go Pro Se

     DENVER (CN) – The man accused of murdering three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic and trying to kill nine more told a judge Wednesday that he wants to fire his public defenders and represent himself at trial.
     Robert Dear, 57, has been charged with 179 felonies for the five-hour rampage at a Colorado Springs clinic on Nov. 27. The charges include first-degree murder and nine attempted murders.
     He appeared at a status hearing on his mental competency Wednesday, which was requested by his public defender, Dan King.
     Dear told El Paso County Chief Judge Gilbert Martinez he demanded his “constitutional right” to defend himself.
     Dear’s request to represent himself caused Martinez to clear the courtroom of press and prosecutors to speak to Dear and his defense team privately. When the public was allowed to return, Martinez said he would order Dear to undergo a competency evaluation to determine if he was fit to stand trial.
     “Your forced psychological evaluation goes against my constitutional rights!” Dear insisted. “I’m not going to say anything at that psychological evaluation.”
     The competency evaluation will be at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo. Due to waiting lists, Dear’s evaluation could take up to nine months.
     Dear was adamant Wednesday that he would not cooperate with a psychological evaluation.
     “You’re not going to know anything more than you do now,” Dear said. “I’m not going to say a word to them.”
     Though Martinez advised Dear to trust his public defenders, Dear said: “How can I trust my attorney when he says I’m incompetent in the newspaper?”
     At Dear’s first hearing , on Dec. 9, at which he appeared by video camera from jail, King told the court: “I cannot accept that Mr. Dear is competent as he sits here today.”
     Dear has been hostile to his defense team since that hearing, in which he accused his public defenders of preparing to “drug” him, calling King “the lawyer for the ‘Batman’ shooter that drugged him all up.”
     “That’s what they want to do to me,” Dear said Wednesday. “I do not want them as my lawyers.”
     King defended mass murderer James Holmes at trial this year. Holmes was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 12 people and wounding 70 at a “Batman” movie in Aurora, Colo.
     Dear has called himself a “ warrior for the babies ” and made it clear, in his blurting in court hearings, that he chose Planned Parenthood for a reason.
     He is accused of murdering Iraq war veteran Ke’Arre Stewart, a father of two; University of Colorado police Officer Garrett Swasey, a father of two; and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two.
     Dear’s next status hearing was set for Feb. 24, 2016.

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