A Colorado man accused of massacring 10 people in a Boulder grocery store last spring was ordered to undergo a mental health exam to see if he’s competent to stand trial.
Ahmad Aliwi Alissa, 22, was directed Tuesday to undergo a state psychological evaluation within the next three weeks as he faces a litany of charges for the deadly rampage at a King Soopers store on March 22 that killed nine customers and a police officer.
If state medical experts say he isn’t competent, the trial could be delayed and the accused mass shooter pushed into treatment until he’s found to be able to understand court proceedings and help his lawyers, The Associated Press reported.
DA Michael Dougherty said he didn’t expect the case to reach its conclusion for up to two years.
“We’ll just continue to work through each obstacle on this journey,” Dougherty said after Tuesday’s court hearing.
Defense attorneys had said Alissa may suffer from a “mental disability,” but the details of their claim are in a sealed court filing, the AP reported. An attorney for Alissa said it will seek another evaluation if the alleged gunmen is found competent.
Alissa appeared masked in court on Tuesday in an orange jail jumpsuit as the judge advised him of the mental-health evaluation, the AP said.
If he’s found competent to stand trial, the defense may still opt for an insanity plea – which would argue the accused wasn’t able to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crime.
Alissa is accused of opening fire in the crowded store, with witnesses and police claiming he was heard “chuckling” as he fired off shots using an AR-556 rifle and a high-capacity magazine that’s illegal in the state. He is also accused of trying to kill a slew of other victims, including 11 law enforcement officers.
“I surrender! I’m naked!” the gunman allegedly yelled to police after a lengthy standoff before he was taken into custody, reports said.
With Post wires.