DENVER (AP) — The man charged with killing 10 people at a Boulder supermarket in 2021 will undergo a restoration hearing this fall to determine his mental state after a health evaluation found him competent to work with his lawyers on this case.
A judge decided Tuesday that Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa’s restoration process will last until Oct. 3, at which point a decision will be made. The judge also denied another competency evaluation for the suspect.
Alissa is charged with murder and multiple attempted murder counts in the shooting at a crowded King Soopers store on March 22, 2021, in Boulder. He has not yet been asked to enter a plea.
The district attorney spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s hearing, saying the case is now in the judge’s hands.
“Ultimately, it’s up to a judge to determine whether the defendant is competent or not,” 20th Judicial District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.
While Alissa was not present in the hearing, several family members of the victims showed up to hear the judge’s ruling. The uncle of victim Rikki Olds was one of them.
He was asked about the decision not to grant another competency hearing.
“It’s that guarded excitement, that guarded notion that this is going to keep moving forward like it should. It’s the anticipation of a little piece of justice coming down the road, hopefully,” Olds said.
Competency at issue in mass shooting trial
The case against him has been on hold for about two years after his attorneys raised concerns about his mental competency — whether he is able to understand court proceedings and communicate with his lawyers to help his own defense.
Alissa was being held at a state mental health facility, but prosecutors accused him of feigning his condition to avoid trial.
Earlier this month, the Colorado Department of Human Services announced a determination that he did not have a mental or developmental disability that prevented him from working with his lawyer.
Alissa’s hospital reports are not public under Colorado law but lawyers have sometimes provided limited details about his mental health in court filings. In February, Alissa’s lawyers confirmed he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and said he had a limited ability to interact with others.
“He speaks in repetitive non-responsive answers and cannot tolerate contact with others for more than a very brief period,” they said at the time.
Competency is a different legal issue than a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, which involves whether someone’s mental health prevented them from understanding right from wrong when a crime was committed.
Prosecutors want Alissa to remain at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo rather than be sent back to the jail in Boulder, which they say cannot provide the same level of care.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.