DENVER (CN) — The gag order protecting the accused Planned Parenthood shooter’s criminal discovery records will remain intact, a Colorado judge ruled.
Three victims of the Nov. 27, 2015 Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs sought access to accused killer Robert Dear’s criminal discovery, to supplement their civil lawsuit against Planned Parenthood. They claim the organization could have done more to protect its clients from violent attacks such as Dear’s.
Dear killed Iraq war veteran Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart, young mother Jennifer Markovsky, and University of Colorado police Officer Garrett Swasey, then surrendered after a standoff with police. He told the arresting officers he was a “warrior for the babies.”
Fourth Judicial District Judge Gilbert Martinez reaffirmed his own gag order on Nov. 23, finding that releasing criminal discovery might affect Dear’s ability to have a fair trial, and would “interfere with the integrity of this litigation.”
“The case at bar has been subject to intense public scrutiny and the release of this information at this stage of the proceedings may jeopardize Mr. Dear’s right to a fair trial by an impartial jury,” according to the 6-page order. “At this early stage of the proceedings a release of the information is not appropriate.”
The civil lawsuit, which might come to a standstill without access to discovery, was filed on behalf of Samantha Wagner, Ke’Arre Stewart’s widow.
Judge Martinez did make an exception, and wrote that police reports on previous threats against Planned Parenthood would be made available for the civil case.
Dear is being treated at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo for what two psychologists have called a delusional disorder. Dear made headlines with his rambling, anti-abortion outbursts in court.
He faces 179 charges of attempted murder and first-degree murder. His next competency review has been set for Feb. 15, 2017.
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