Boulder King Soopers shooter still unfit to stand trial

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The remodeled Table Mesa King Soopers grocery store in Boulder reopens Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, less than a year after a mass shooting there left 10 people dead. Company officials gave news media a preview as workers stocked shelves and prepared for customers.

The man accused of killing 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers last year remains mentally unfit to stand trial. At a Friday court proceeding, a Boulder district court judge scheduled another review of the 22-year-old suspect's competency in July.

Until then, the suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, will continue to receive treatment at the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo, where he’s been held since December. The process of restoring defendants to competency takes around six months on average, said Michael Dougherty, Boulder County’s district attorney. 

“Any delay (of a trial) is frustrating for the families and the community, who are all still recovering from this horrific tragedy,” Dougherty said. “My office will continue to prepare for a trial between now and July.” 

When a defendant is deemed incompetent to stand trial it means the person cannot understand the criminal proceedings and cannot assist in their own defense.

District court judge Ingrid S. Bakke classified Alissa as such last December. Boulder prosecutors at the time said the suspect had “mentally deteriorated” while being held at the Boulder County Jail for seven months awaiting criminal proceedings. 

At least four different doctors have participated in evaluations of Alissa — all coming to the same conclusion, Dougherty said. He declined to provide more specifics of his condition. 

Despite the delays, the suspect is expected to stand trial at some point. He faces more than 100 criminal charges for his alleged role in the shooting. 

In a March order that set Friday’s competency review, Bakke shared findings of a status report from Alissa’s doctors at the Pueblo hospital. 

The report found “there is a substantial probability that (Alissa) will likely be restored to competency within the reasonable future and may be restored to competency and remain competent with the use of medications,” according to Bakke’s order.

Bakke said Friday that remains the case. 

Victims’ families have watched the proceedings closely. About a dozen attended the five-minute review hearing in person on Friday, including Robert Olds. 

His niece, Rikki Olds, was a manager at the King Soopers who was killed during the shooting. 

“We’re just trying to sit back and grieve a little bit more, try to understand a little bit more and hope the process keeps moving forward,” Olds said. “That’s all we can do.”

The state hospital in Pueblo is expected to submit its next progress report on Alissa’s condition by May 15. 

The court’s next review of the case is set for July 21. 

CPR’s Allison Sherry contributed reporting.