Trial set for man accused of killing 10 at King Soopers

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Visitors at the makeshift memorial fence outside King Soopers supermarket on Table Mesa Drive, Monday, March 29, 2021.

After considering a “preponderance of the evidence,” a district court judge has ruled that the man accused of the shooting at a Boulder King Soopers in 2021 is mentally competent to aid in his own defense. 

In the ruling from Judge Ingrid S. Bakke, she notes that although  Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa is currently competent to proceed, it is contingent on his staying on his medication to treat schizophrenia and that “his competency remains tenuous and that he is likely to rapidly decompensate and regress if he stops taking his medication.”

Bakke said that in June 2023, the defendant specifically said that if the court proceedings continue to trial and he is moved to the Boulder County Jail, he’d stop taking his antipsychotic medication. He refused it during the last competency hearing on Sept. 27.

The recommendation is that Alissa stay in the state mental health hospital in Pueblo where he has been improving while awaiting trial. Bakke acknowledged that she doesn’t have the authority to keep him there but urged that he stays and continues treatment.

In a Friday night statement from the Boulder’s District Attorney, an arrangement to keep the defendant at the state hospital had been made. 

“Given the clinical opinions of the evaluators and the treatment team at the State Hospital, coupled with the Boulder County Jail’s inability to provide involuntary medications and the defendant’s potential unwillingness to voluntarily take medication, the State Hospital granted our request and decided that it is necessary to maintain the defendant at the State Hospital while his case is being litigated,” the DA office said in a statement. 

Alissa’s competency finding has nothing to do with the condition he was in allegedly the day of the March 2021 shooting — only that he understands the justice system enough to be able to help his defense attorneys during the trial.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.

“This decision provides some hope for the victim families that this case will move forward and that justice will be done.  We will never stop fighting for the right outcome in this case,” said DA Michael Dougherty.

Alissa faces more than 100 criminal charges connected to the shooting, including first-degree murder of 10 people. That includes a Boulder police officer.

 In the hearing last month, he told a forensic psychologist that he bought his automatic weapon so he could carry out a mass shooting and that he wanted to die by having a police officer kill him.