What Was Robert Lewis Dear Charged With? The Planned Parenthood Shooting Suspect Was Arraigned In Court
The man suspected of opening fire on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday has been charged. Court officials on Monday confirmed that 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. had made a video appearance at an El Paso County court to be arraigned in connection to the Nov. 27 attack, in which three people were killed and nine more were injured. The alleged Planned Parenthood shooter now faces charges of first-degree murder.
According to some legal experts, Dear's alleged attack could carry with it a capital sentence. "When I saw events unfold, that was my thought," Colorado Springs attorney Jennifer Stock told The Gazette in a statement on Monday. "I thought this possibly could be a capital crime." As it stands, Colorado is one of 31 states that still currently allow the death penalty for crimes of first-degree murder, though the state has only executed one death row inmate since 1976.
Dear was first arrested on Friday after he allegedly stormed the local Planned Parenthood clinic and opened fire, killing Jennifer Markovsky, Ke'Arre Stewart, and University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey. Officials said the suspect had also stashed propane tanks at various locations surrounding the clinic and had allegedly been planning to blow them up. After a six-hour stand-off with police and SWAT teams, Dear surrendered and was taken into custody, where he allegedly told police that he held anti-abortion and anti-government views, according to a report by CNN, although no official motive has been confirmed.
According to court reporters, at least a few of Dear's defense team also represented Aurora theater shooter James Holmes earlier this year, though at least one reporter noted that one or more of the defenders may have simply been there to advise. "Just because Holmes attorney Dan King is here doesn't mean he will be main attorney," Gazette reporter Lance Benzel tweeted about the Aurora shooter's lead counsel, who previously represented death row inmate Sir Mario Owens in 2008. "[He] may be consulting."
Dear appeared in court via video feed from the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center on Monday, handcuffed and clad only in a white protective vest, according to a Washington Post report. Stony-faced, Dear listened as the charges were read and replied calmly that he did not have any questions for the judge before thanking the court.
Court documents on Monday confirmed that Dear had been charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond. He is scheduled to appear in court next on Dec. 9.