DENVER, Colo. – Robert Dear, the man accused of shooting and killing three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in November 2015, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 68 counts, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado announced Monday.
Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., 61, is set to appear before a federal magistrate judge at 2 p.m. Monday in Denver after he was taken into custody Monday morning at the State Mental Hospital in Pueblo, where he has been held as his state mental competency hearings
have been ongoing.
Dear is charged with 65 counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) and three counts of use of a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death where the killing is a murder, according to the indictment.
Dear has been undergoing treatment at the state mental hospital in Pueblo every 90 days for years after he was charged with 179 counts, including murder and attempted murder, in the shooting. He has been deemed incompetent to stand trial and represent himself each time – the first judgment coming in May 2016. A judge ruled in 2017 he could be forcibly given an anti-psychotic medicine.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that if Dear is convicted in the federal case, he could potentially face the death penalty – but if that is not considered, he could face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.
U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn has not decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case, and the office said it would consult with victims’ families in making that decision.
“The dozens of victims of this heinous act, as well as the Colorado Springs community itself, deserve justice,” Dunn said in a statement. “After four years of lengthy delays in state court, and in consultation with the 4th Judicial District Attorney and victims, this office made the decision to charge Mr. Dear.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the statute of limitations under the FACE Act is five years, and the decision was made to charge Dear under those statutes before the statute expires and as the state case remains pending.
The office said that U.S. Marshals will determine if Dear will be held in federal custody after his federal detention hearing. It said that there is not a federal homicide statute under which Dear could be charged.
This story was originally published by Blair Miller at KMGH.