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State finds Boulder King Soopers suspect competent to stand trial

In December 2021, the suspect was sent to the state mental hospital for treatment and had previously been deemed mentally incompetent multiple times.
Posted: 12:08 PM, Aug 23, 2023
Updated: 2023-08-24 00:15:23-04
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DENVER — After months of legal back and forth on his competency to stand trial, that state found the man charged with killing 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers supermarket in March 2021 is competent to stand trial.

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) provided the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Office with a new evaluation on suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, which read “the defendant does not currently have a mental disability or developmental disability that prevents him from having sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding in order to assist in his defense or prevents him from having a rational and factual understanding of the criminal proceedings,” a release stated.

He is facing a total of 115 criminal counts, including 10 counts of first-degree murder. In May 2021, eight additional counts of attempted murder were filed in the case.

In December 2021, the suspect was sent to the state mental hospital for treatment and had previously been deemed by a judge mentally incompetent multiple times.

Earlier in March 2022, prosecutors asked the court to bring in their own expert, but that request was denied.

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Court documents in a first ruling revealed the suspect appeared to have an understanding of the charges against him, his potential sentences and the workings of the court. But doctors "concluded that their 'provisional' mental health diagnosis of Defendant 'limits his ability to meaningfully converse with others.'"

In February of 2023, lawyers for the suspect Alissa said he had schizophrenia, with an expert determining he was "approaching catatonia" suffering from symptoms that were resistant to medications, the Associated Press reported.

In March of 2023, prosecutors asked a judge to bring in their own neuropsychologist to evaluate the accused gunman. They hoped an outside expert could determine if he is really mentally incompetent, but the judge ruled ‘"the people lack the authority’" and those decisions rest solely with the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo.

The DA’s office said in a release it has begun to notify victims and families and has filed a motion with the court to “schedule a preliminary hearing as soon as practicable.” A status conference has been scheduled for Aug. 29 at 1:30 p.m., according to court documents.

A judge will need to accept the state's conclusion on the suspect's competency for the court proceedings against the suspect to continue.


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The last competency review hearing for the case was set on April 28, 2023. Per requirements, Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo (CMHIP) provided a competency re-evaluation report to the court 10 days prior before that hearing, on April 18. This is required through Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 16-8.5-116.

In between those two dates — on April 24 — the court vacated the April 28 review hearing since it had scheduled a restoration hearing for the following month, on May 23. That May 23 hearing was continued on May 17 for three reasons:

  • Experts needed to review the neuropsychological testing results that were included in the April 18 competency re-evaluation report, plus other new information from CMHIP
  • Experts needed to prepare reports
  • The potential relevance of the competency reevaluation report that was due in mid-July to a restoration hearing

The May 23 hearing was continued to Aug. 29.
By the end of July, neither party had received the competency re-evaluation report that was due in mid-July from CMHIP, which is required. When prosecutors asked CMHIP about the status of that report, CMHIP said it would be provided on Aug. 19, which was 10 days prior to the set Aug. 29 hearing.

Prosecutors noted the CRS, saying that report was due in July. They requested it be provided as soon as possible so the court could conduct the required 91-day review and the parties could prepare for the restoration hearing.

The long road to justice 2 years since the Boulder King Soopers shooting

According to the CRS, the court must review the case of the defendant who has been found incompetent every 91 days until four reviews are complete. After those 91 days, the court will review the competency of the person every 91 days until they are restored to competency, or the court determines the defendant will likely not be restored within the foreseeable future.

CMHIP again stated it would be completed on or before Aug. 19.

Within 20 days of the scheduled restoration date, the parties agreed that even if they received the report before Aug. 19, it would not give experts enough time to review the newest findings in that report. As a result, they would be unable to move forward with the hearing and they jointly requested the court continue the restoration hearing and convert the Aug. 29 date to a competency review.

This request was granted on Aug. 16 by District Court Judge Ingrid Seftar Bakke and a status conference was confirmed for Aug. 29.

The Boulder 10: Remembering the victims

The Table Mesa King Soopers reopened in February of 2022 nearly 11 months after the shooting.

Alissa is accused of shooting and killing the following victims:

  • Suzanne Fountain, 59
  • Rikki Olds, 25
  • Officer Eric Talley
  • Jody Waters, 65
  • Denny Stong, 20
  • Tralona Bartkowiak
  • Neven Stanisic, 23
  • Kevin Mahoney, 61
  • Lynn Murray, 62
  • Teri Leiker, 51

Kevin Mahoney's daughter, Erika, spoke with Denver7 on Wednesday from her California home.

“He was an amazing father. He was so loving. He was so caring. He loved the outdoors. He spent a lot of time hiking the trails in Colorado," Erika said. “He spent long hours helping me with my math homework. He drove across the country with me when I moved jobs. He was always there for me. He was the person I could always count on. And I miss him every day.”

She has missed countless moments with her father since March 2021, including watching him become a grandfather to her two young children.

“That's just been tainted, right? It's just like, I was becoming a mom and my dad wasn't here for that," Erika explained. “It definitely feels like there's this before and this after. It has left such a big hole in my life, and for my family, that it's really hard to even describe. So much has changed. Normal things that were easy for my family, like going grocery shopping, are really hard now. Normal questions that I would love to just ask my dad, to talk with him on the phone, I can't do that. It's really difficult.”

Erika was relieved to learn the court case will move forward against the alleged shooter.

“I, at times, wondered if this day would ever come," Erika said. “I've almost felt stuck, and a trial will bring some sense of closure. It won't bring full closure, but I hope it does bring some sense of closure.”

Even though she is pleased to see progress in the case, she knows no outcome will bring back her father.

“For me, justice is this never happening again," said Erika. "This never happening to any other family.”

The #BoulderStrong Resource Center is open Monday through Friday for people impacted by the shooting.

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