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Judge orders second competency evaluation for accused Boulder shooter, causing another trial delay

BOULDER, Colo. (KRDO) -- Judge Ingrid Bakke decided Wednesday that the man accused of killing 10 people in a Boulder Supermarket will now receive a second mental competency evaluation.

The issue of mental competency was mentioned by the defense of Ahmad Alissa's first court appearance following his arrest at King Soopers. Nearly eight months later, the issue is still not resolved.

Two doctors performed the defendant's first evaluation at the Boulder County Jail on October 1, 2021. They filed their report with the court on October 5, reporting that they did not find him competent to stand trial.

Court documents reveal that the doctors found their "provisional" mental health diagnoses of the defendant “limit[s] his ability to meaningfully converse with others.” Their report also said that the alleged shooter's “superficial responses” to hypothetical legal situations indicate a “passive approach to his defense” and “potential over-reliance on his attorneys.”

After receiving the competency report from his initial evaluation, the prosecution filed a motion requesting another evaluation. The defense responded to that motion, giving several reasons why they believe he isn't competent to move forward.

"The prosecution contends that Mr. Alissa understands the potential sentence, but the report indicates otherwise," the defense's motion states. "The death penalty is not a potential sentence in this case, and the report reflects his fixation on that as a sentence. Nor does Mr. Alissa understand the role of the judge, as the prosecution tells it. The judge does not decide the verdict, as Mr. Alissa told the evaluator. But, most importantly, nothing in the report suggests there is any basis to believe Mr. Alissa has a 'sufficient present ability to consult with [counsel] with a reasonable degree of rational understanding to assist in the defense.'"

Judge Bakke ultimately decided to cancel a hearing scheduled for Thursday to discuss competency and officially order another evaluation. However, Bakke did stipulate that both the defense and prosecution have one week to agree on a list of four evaluators that can assess the defendant's competency.

Once the judge appoints evaluators from that list, they'll have 35 days to complete the evaluation.

The alleged shooter's preliminary hearing was scheduled for October 19, 2021, but this decision canceled that hearing as well. It has yet to be rescheduled.

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Sydnee Stelle

Sydnee is an MMJ for KRDO NewsChannel 13. You can learn more about her here.

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