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Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting suspect's case remains on hold nearly a decade later

It’s been eight years since Robert Dear was accused of shooting and killing three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood
Robert Dear
Posted at 4:35 PM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 21:00:05-05

DENVER — The case involving a man who allegedly shot and killed three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in 2015 has been on hold for nearly a decade.

Now, there's another obstacle preventing it from moving forward.

Robert Dear is accused of fatally shooting 44-year-old University of Colorado in Colorado Springs Police Officer Garrett Swasey; 36-year-old Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two; and Ke'Arre Stewart, a 29-year-old Army veteran and father of two. Eight others were also injured in the November 2015 shooting.

The case has been in limbo for eight years, after Dear was found incompetent for trial in 2016.

Last September, a U.S. district judge determined that Dear could be forcibly medicated, in an attempt to restore him to competency — but his defense filed an appeal to prevent that from happening.

Attorneys are now awaiting the decision from a federal level after the appeal.

Thursday morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from both sides.

Licensed psychologist and research assistant professor at University of Denver, Jennifer McMahon, said in this case, forced medication may be a last resort.

“When somebody is being held up by competency, it’s the courts requirement to really consider all options, less intrusive options than forced medications," McMahon said.

The courts must now make a decision on how the case will move forward.

“The court has the responsibility of really factoring in — is this appropriate? Does this person require medication in order to move forward with their case?” McMahon added. “The hope is that, for everybody, these things get resolved quickly, but unfortunately that’s not the reality of some of these circumstances.”

He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence to life behind bars. The U.S. Department of Justice ruled in December 2020 that Dear would not face the death penalty.

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