Boulder King Soopers suspect remains incompetent to stand trial

The families of the 10 people killed inside a Boulder King Soopers store last year are frustrated that the man suspected in the shooting remains incompetent to stand trial, continually stalling the criminal case against him.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa faces more than 100 charges in connection to the March 22, 2021, mass shooting, but his case has been repeatedly delayed as he had been found incompetent to stand trial. Authorities have attempted to restore him to competency since he failed an evaluation in December and again in April.

Boulder District Judge Ingrid Bakke again ruled him incompetent at a court hearing Friday but said that there was “substantial probability” that he could be restored to competency. She set a new hearing to evaluate his status for Jan. 27.

Families of the 10 people killed sat in the courtroom but Alissa remained at the state hospital in Pueblo, where he has been undergoing treatment. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty told Bakke that the families were frustrated by how long the competency problems have dragged out, but said they understood there was little either he or the judge could do.

“They’re frustrated,” Dougherty told reporters after the hearing. “I think community members are likely frustrated, too. People want to see justice in this case. That will happen. That day will come. But this journey is longer and more challenging than the families or any of us anticipated.”

A competency evaluation determines whether a criminal defendant is mentally ill or developmentally disabled, and whether that person can understand court proceedings and help their attorneys in their defense. Competency is different than an insanity defense, which relates to a person’s mental state at the time of the crime.

Some defendants can be restored to competency while other cases stall for years, like criminal proceedings against the man charged with killing three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in 2015.

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