Shooter in Colorado rampage that killed 10 deemed unfit to stand trial

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder stemming from the March 22 shooting rampage at a King Soopers grocery store. PHOTO: REUTERS

DENVER (REUTERS) - A Colorado judge on Friday (Dec 3) ruled that a man accused of killing 10 people in a supermarket shooting in March is incompetent to stand trial.

Boulder County District Judge Ingrid Bakke made her ruling during a hearing for Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, where it was disclosed that two separate court-ordered psychological evaluations had both concluded that he is mentally unfit.

Judge Bakke ordered Alissa to undergo treatment at the state's mental hospital. Colorado law requires that a criminal defendant deemed incompetent undergo treatment in an effort to make them competent to stand trial.

Alissa is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder stemming from the March 22 shooting rampage at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, about 45 km northwest of Denver.

Armed with a legally purchased Ruger AR-556 pistol, Alissa stormed the supermarket and opened fire, prosecutors said. Among those killed was a responding Boulder police officer.

The authorities have not identified a motive for the attack.

Two psychologists previously evaluated Alissa and deemed him incompetent, prompting prosecutors in October to request Judge Bakke order a second mental examination, which she granted.

The competency standard requires that a defendant understands the charges and can meaningfully assist in their own defence.

District Attorney Michael Dougherty said at Friday's hearing that because the second evaluator likewise concluded that Alissa is mentally unfit, he would no longer contest the findings.

"We're confident that with medication and treatment at the state hospital... that he can be restored to competency," Dougherty told the judge.

Alissa, who has been held without bond since his arrest, did not speak during the five-minute hearing.

His attorney Kathryn Herold said that her client suffers from an undisclosed "serious mental illness".

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