Experts: Boulder supermarket shooting suspect not competent, court says

FILE – In this Sept. 7, 2021 file photo, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa listens during a hearing in Boulder, Colo. A judge has ordered a second state mental health evaluation of the man accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket after defense attorneys said in court documents that doctors found Alissa unable to assist in his own defense. Judge Ingrid Bakke ordered the second state evaluation on Thursday at the request of prosecutors who argued that they felt Alissa’s responses to doctors suggest he’s competent for the case to move forward, according to court documents released Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski/Pool, File)

DENVER |  State experts concluded that the man charged with killing 10 people at a Boulder supermarket is not competent to stand trial but a judge granted prosecutors’ request for his mental health to be evaluated a second time, according to court filings released Monday.

The initial evaluation report was not released but, according to a filing by prosecutors, the experts provisionally diagnosed Ahmad Alissa, 22, with an unspecified mental health condition that “limit(s) his ability to meaningfully converse with others” and concluded that he is not currently able to assist his lawyers in defending him. Alissa gave “superficial responses” to questions about hypothetical legal situations which indicate a “passive approach to his defense” and “potential overreliance on his attorneys,” according to excerpts from the report included in the prosecution’s motion last week for a second evaluation.

Competency involves both whether defendants can understand legal proceedings and whether they have the ability to work with their lawyers to defend them. It’s a separate legal issue than a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, which hinges on whether someone’s mental health prevented them from knowing right from wrong when a crime was committed. Court hearings are mostly put on hold when a judge finds that a defendant is incompetent but can resume if and when their condition improves, including through treatment.

While prosecutors said that the evaluators found that Alissa understood the legal process, his lawyers disputed that. The defense, also citing the evaluation report in a filing, said Alissa was fixated on the possibility of the death penalty in the case even though that is not a possibility. Colorado ended the use of capital punishment last year. He also thought the judge, rather than a jury, would decide his fate, the defense said.

Judge Ingrid Bakke had ordered state’s mental health evaluation after Alissa’s attorneys questioned his competence based on an evaluation by their own expert.

Alissa faces multiple counts in the March shooting at a crowded King Soopers supermarket in Boulder. Ten people were killed, including a police officer, before police shot and wounded the gunman and escorted him from the scene.

Investigators have not released a possible motive for the attack.


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Joe Felice
Joe Felice
15 days ago

Which means he should be committed to the State Hospital in Pueblo for the remainder of his days. I’m sure that is as bad as being in prison.

And yet, this man was allowed to purchase guns. You know the “system” isn’t working if that was allowed to happen.

Last edited 15 days ago by Joe Felice
Terry Cochran
Terry Cochran
14 days ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

Joe….in the parameters that exist today, how has the “System” failed?

Terry Cochran
Terry Cochran
15 days ago

Alleged suspect….holy crap he was caught red handed. He’s the killer. He had the sense to surrender, raise his hands, and back out the front door of the store after he shot all his ammo. He knew the cops wouldn’t shoot him in the back, even though he deserved it. He had to wait days for the background checks to be completed, then six days passed before he did his killing. This guy is evil not crazy. As far as not understanding the legal system….only the attorneys and the judge understand how the court operates. Be a jurist in a trial and you will understand that. They don’t want you to understand how a trial functions or what the rules are. Justice is not the main goal in a trial….a trial is a competition between the opposing attorneys, and the People’s Republic of Boulder is going to spend zillions of taxpayer’s dollars to prove what we all know!