BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — When Justin Bannan pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity at his arraignment on Thursday, it came nearly 10 months after he was charged with attempted murder.
The 41-year-old former Denver Bronco has won multiple delays in his criminal case, in which he also faces counts of first-degree assault and first-degree burglary for allegedly shooting Ashley Marie in the shoulder.
Marie is suing Bannan in civil court for pain and suffering. Bannan has filed a motion to delay the civil case until the criminal case is resolved, which Marie told the FOX31 Problem Solvers felt like a stalling tactic.
“That’s what it feels like. I’m not super hip to the legal game, but yeah,” Marie said.
The 37-year-old was shot Oct. 16, 2019 in a Boulder warehouse where she and Bannan worked for different companies. Marie was walking into a room where she performs acupuncture, having no idea Bannan was waiting with a gun.
“I said, ‘What the f**k? You just shot me.’ And he said, “I’m sorry. The Russian Mafia is after me.'”
Bannan’s insanity defense rests on the suggestion that he suffers from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease found in people with a history of concussions and hits to the head (often athletes).
In his arrest affidavit, Bannan told Boulder police officers he suffers from hydrocephalus, which can lead to the loss of reasoning skills and other issues, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Bannan’s defense attorney Harvey Steinberg told the judge his client may need brain surgery but didn’t specify why.
The judge ordered a mental health evaluation be completed in 30 days.
“I think anything that delays the criminal case is frustrating on our end,” said Marc Harden, who represents Marie in her civil lawsuit against Bannan.
Bannan’s attorney in the civil case has filed a motion asking the judge to delay the lawsuit until after Bannan’s criminal case is resolved.
“We think of it as a re-victimization to be told to have to potentially wait a very, very long time to get this behind you when she’s dealing with it every day,” said Harden, who plans to file a counter-motion asking the civil judge to let Marie’s lawsuit proceed now.
“I feel like it’s unfair and unacceptable for Mr. Bannan to delay taking responsibility for his actions,” Marie said.
Harden told FOX31 that even if Bannon has brain damage, he doesn’t think it will protect Bannan from having to pay civil damages for allegedly shooting Marie.
The criminal case could take another year to go to trial, especially now that Bannan is using an insanity defense.
“It’s frustrating for Ashley. What we’d like to see at the end of the day is accountability and we’d like to see that happen sooner than later,” Harden said, before adding, “It could be many, many years before the criminal case is fully resolved and frankly, civil cases take a long time anyway.”