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Mental exam focus of hearing in Colorado clinic shooting

Author: The Associated Press
Published: Updated:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – A forensic psychologist testified Thursday that she and a colleague who evaluated the man who acknowledges killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic agreed that he is not competent to stand trial.

Jackie Grimmett said she met with Robert Dear twice for a mental evaluation and by the end of the second interview, both decided he has a mental illness impairing his functional ability. Psychologist Thomas Gray also participated in the evaluations.

Grimmett did not provide details as testimony continued Thursday to determine if Dear should be committed to a psychiatric hospital. If a judge agrees, Dear’s case would stall indefinitely while he gets treatment.

A Colorado Springs detective testified earlier that Dear, 57, told people that he believes a move by defense attorneys to have him declared mentally incompetent is part of a plot to diminish his message opposing abortion. The detective said Dear also said he doesn’t want to be declared incompetent because he fears he would be sent to a mental hospital where they will silence him.

A judge ordered Dear’s mental evaluation after he announced he wanted to fire his public defenders and represent himself.

His defense wants him committed to a psychiatric hospital.

During an outburst in the courtroom on Thursday, Dear shouted “I forgive her” after the detective testified that Dear believed the FBI turned his longtime girlfriend against him and got her to spy on him.

During a previous court session, Dear declared himself a “warrior for the babies” and said he was guilty.

Authorities said Dear made dozens of calls to reporters and friends from jail saying he believed he was being persecuted by the FBI.

Dear said he believed FBI agents broke into his isolated home in Hartsel and tore his clothing and later followed him to the clinic where the shootings occurred. He said the FBI agents disappeared before the shootings.