Accused Planned Parenthood gunman says he’s guilty – USA TODAY
Robert Lewis Dear is accused of fatally shooting three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood.
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COLORADO SPRINGS — The man accused of killing three people during an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic bellowed in court Wednesday thatÂ he is a “warrior for the babies.”
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, declared his guilt and saidÂ there would be no trial.Â He was in court to be formally advised of the 179 charges against him, includingÂ murder,Â after a shooting rampage Nov. 27Â in Colorado Springs that also wounded nine people.
Authorities said DearÂ mentionedÂ “no more baby parts” during his arrest. Dear’s attorney said the suspect’s mental competencyÂ must be investigatedÂ before the case proceeds.
âIâm a warrior for the babies,â Dear hollered,Â his wrists and ankles shackled.Â Dear repeatedly interrupted his attorney during the hearing and said he wouldn’t meet with him again. It wasn’t immediately clear what impact his outbursts might have on the case against him since he was not being asked to enter a plea on Wednesday.
Colorado prosecutors have not yet said whether they’ll pursue the death penalty in the case.Â Dear is being represented by the same public defender who led the defense of Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, who received a life sentence instead of death for the 2012 on a suburban movie theater. Holmes in that case pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In court, Dear referenced the HolmesÂ case, and rejected the idea that he be medicated and said he didn’t want to undergo a mental-health exam.
“Do you know who this lawyer is?” Dear said. “He’s the lawyer for the Batman shooter who drugged him all up. That’s what they want to do to me.”
Dear’sÂ former wife says he is a deeply religiousÂ butÂ conflictedÂ man who likelyÂ targeted the clinic because ofÂ its abortion-related activities. In a statement, Colorado-basedÂ Planned Parent officials called the attack a “horrific tragedy.”
Said Vicki Cowart, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains: “We know that words matter. It is time to put an end to the dangerous rhetoric that has permeated our political conversations. Enough is enough âÂ this violence, whether inflicted with words or with weapons, cannot become our normal.â
Abortion-rights groups say the publication of a series of videos purporting to show clinic workers across the country offering to sell fetal tissue have led to a surge in violence against abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood says women undergoing abortionsÂ are given the opportunity to donate tissue for research purposes, and that the videos were deceptively edited.
Authorities say Dear entered the tan single-story clinic around 11:30 a.m. MT, shooting at officers and bystanders for nearly five hours before surrendering shortly after SWAT teams crashed armored vehicles into the lobby. Killed in the attack were police officer Garrett Swasey, a father of two,Â Army veteran Ke’Arre Stewart, a father of two, and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two. None of the three worked for Planned Parenthood.
Dear could also face federal charges, although theÂ U.S. Attorney’s OfficeÂ in Denver said its current focus is on assisting with the ongoing investigation. Federal prosecutors could alsoÂ seek the death penalty.
Dear lived in a small trailer in a remote area of Colorado about an hour’s drive west of the clinic. His trailerÂ in Hartsel lacked running water or standardÂ electricity, although it was equipped with solar panels and a television aerial.