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Boulder judge finds King Soopers shooting suspect incompetent to stand trial

The ruling Friday came after a fourth doctor who did an evaluation came to the same conclusions as the other doctors.

BOULDER, Colo. — A fourth doctor agreed with three other doctors and concluded that the man arrested and charged in connection with the deadly shooting at a Boulder King Soopers store earlier this year is not competent to stand trial at this time.

During a hearing Friday, prosecutors asked the judge to send the suspect to the state hospital in Pueblo, where they're hopeful he can receive treatment that will restore his competency so they can proceed.

"This case is by no means over," said Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty after the hearing. "This is certainly a delay, and it's upsetting to everybody. The victims groups, the families, the prosecution. But it's also a step we need to take to get him back here as quickly as possible so we can move forward and ensure that justice is done."

WATCH: Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty speaks out after the ruling

Ahmad Alissa is charged with 54 counts related to the March 22 shooting at the grocery store on Table Mesa Drive that left 10 people dead, including Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley.

The other victims include:

  • Neven Stanisic, 23
  • Kevin Mahoney, 61
  • Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
  • Rikki Olds, 25
  • Denny Stong, 20
  • Lynn Murray, 62
  • Teri Leiker, 51
  • Jody Waters, 65
  • Suzanne Fountain, 59
  • Eric Talley, 51

The next hearing on Alissa's competency is scheduled for March 15.

Previously, two court-ordered doctors found the suspect was "not competent to proceed," according to court documents. A doctor appointed by the defense team reached the same conclusion. 

Dougherty emphasized that incompetency is different from insanity, which refers to a defendant's mental health at the time of the crime.

A competent defendant has a rational understanding of court proceedings, can communicate with their attorneys and assist with their defense.

The two doctors who conducted the evaluation found that Alissa could understand the charges against him, the potential sentence, and the roles of the judge and attorneys in the case, the documents say.

"However, the doctors conclude that their 'provisional' mental health diagnosis of Defendant 'limit[s] his ability to meaningfully converse with others,'" according to the court documents. "And that his 'superficial responses' to hypothetical legal situations indicate a 'passive approach to his defense' and 'potential over-reliance on his attorneys.'"

They concluded he was not currently competent to proceed, according to court documents.

RELATED: King Soopers shooting suspect to get 2nd competency evaluation

The conclusions from the evaluation were not a ruling in the case, and the process of determining the competency of the suspect continued with the judge ultimately granting a prosecution request for an additional evaluation which was the subject of Friday's hearing.

RELATED: Family of King Soopers shooting victim frustrated by delay over competency

Some of the charges the suspect faces include:

  • 10 counts of first-degree murder
  • 33 counts of attempted first-degree murder
  • One count of first-degree assault
  • 10 counts of using a prohibited large-capacity magazine during a crime

Each first-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Each of the attempted murder charges carries a sentence of between 16-48 years.

The lone charge of assault is related to a woman who fell while fleeing from the store and fractured a vertebra in her spine. 

Aside from the weapons charges, each of the other charges represents a victim, according to prosecutors.

It was announced this week that the store where the shooting took place will reopen on January 20 after a major renovation.

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