Accused Planned Parenthood Shooter Now Faces Federal Charges

Robert Lewis Dear
Andy Cross/The Denver Post via AP, Pool
Robert Lewis Dear is led out of court at the end of proceedings by an El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy and his lawyers Kristen Nelson, left, and Rose Roy after Dear’s court appearance on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

A federal grand jury has agreed to indict Robert Dear on 68 charges related to his 2015 attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Dear was arrested after an hours-long standoff at the clinic but a state judge has continually found him incompetent to stand trial. The psychologists who originally evaluated him found that he has a delusion disorder that prevents him from taking part in his own defense. Dear was housed the state mental hospital in Pueblo before being taken into federal custody on Monday.

Most of the federal charges come under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which protects patients and health care providers at reproductive care clinics. The statute of limitations for those charges is set to run out next year.

The federal charges against Dear could carry the death penalty, although prosecutors say they haven't decided yet whether to pursue it.

In a statement, US Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn said, "The dozens of victims of this heinous act, as well as the Colorado Springs community itself, deserve justice... 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.”

The El Paso County district attorney says his office has been working closely with federal law enforcement since the original arrest and will continue with their own case as the new prosecution proceeds.

“The indictment, which is fully supported by our office, is a culmination of those joint efforts, and we hope shall serve as notice that the victims in this case will never be forgotten," said DA Dan May.

Three people were killed in the attack: police officer Garret Swasey and two civilians, Ke’Arre Stewart, a father of two and Army veteran who served in Iraq, and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two who was reportedly at the clinic to support a friend.

Eight other people were wounded, including four law enforcement officers.