Colorado Supermarket Shooter Pleads Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, Trial Set for 2024

Tributes hang on the temporary fence surrounding the parking lot in front of a King Soopers grocery store.

The suspect in the 2021 mass shooting at a King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The plea was entered on his behalf by his attorneys before Judge Ingrid Bakke, as Alissa, dressed in a jail uniform, attended the court proceedings on Tuesday.

The plea is based on the argument that Alissa’s mental health at the time of the crime prevented him from discerning right from wrong. Alissa faces charges of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder. He has been identified as the gunman in the shooting that left 10 people dead, including a police officer, on March 22, 2021.

In the preliminary hearing, Boulder Police Detective Sarah Cantu testified about the details of the shooting, stating that the majority of the victims were killed within 69 seconds of the attack. The shooter targeted moving individuals and continued firing until they were motionless. The victims included nine shoppers and workers at the supermarket, as well as Officer Eric Talley, who was one of the first officers to respond to the scene.

The motive for the shooting remains undetermined, but forensic psychologist Loandra Torres indicated in September that Alissa had purchased firearms to execute a mass shooting and had contemplated “suicide by cop.”

Alissa, diagnosed with schizophrenia, was previously declared mentally incompetent in late 2021 and underwent treatment at a state mental hospital. His mental condition improved after forced medication, leading to Judge Bakke’s ruling last month that he was competent to stand trial, a decision made despite defense objections.

Alissa’s family, who emigrated from Syria, lived in a Denver suburb. The only known prior incident involving Alissa was a 2018 conviction for assaulting a high school classmate. He was also reportedly removed from the wrestling team following a threatening outburst after a match.

Alissa legally purchased the AR-556 pistol used in the shooting. Some families of the victims have filed a lawsuit against the gun’s manufacturer, Sturm, Ruger & Co., alleging irresponsible marketing practices that glorify violence.

The judge has set a tentative trial date for August 2024, with jury selection expected to begin early that month. Alissa remains in custody on a $100 million bond and is scheduled for another competency hearing on January 12, 2024. The victims of the tragic incident include Rikki Olds, Denny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Tralona Bartkowiak, Teri Leiker, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, Jody Waters, and Officer Eric Talley.

Author: CrimeDoor

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