DENVER (KDVR) — A trial will move forward in the 2021 mass shooting at a Boulder grocery store after a judge found the suspect competent to stand trial.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa faces dozens of charges, including 10 counts of first-degree murder, in the shooting at a King Soopers store on Table Mesa Drive.
The case has been on hold for two years while Alissa’s competency was at issue. He was found mentally competent by experts at the state mental hospital in August, but his defense attorney asked for the determination to be debated in court.
That hearing happened in September, with his defense arguing that Alissa, who has schizophrenia, is not competent and cited the psychiatric evaluations describing him as “profoundly mentally ill.”
Even after the judge’s decision on competency, the suspected shooter’s future state remains in question.
Judge Ingrid Bakke warned in Friday’s order that while he was found competent at this time, “all of his treatment providers and evaluators agree that his competency remains tenuous and that he is likely to rapidly decompensate and regress if he stops taking his medication.”
As recently as June, Alissa “specifically said” he would stop taking his medication if he were found competent to stand trial, and even did so while awaiting the restoration hearing, according to the judge.
Bakke urged the state mental hospital to keep him in its care, as the Boulder County jail would not have the resources to force him to take his medication.
An expert in competency testified that Alissa may not be restorable if he bounced between the state hospital and the county jail, the judge said, and “such a result would be an injustice to everyone who has been impacted by this case.”
A preliminary hearing in the case has been set for Nov. 14. At such hearings, evidence is presented to determine whether there’s enough evidence for the defendant to stand trial.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.