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King Soopers shooting suspect to undergo second competency evaluation

The Arvada man suspected of killing 10 people inside a Boulder King Soopers grocery store in March will be evaluated a second time by experts to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial, 20th Judicial District Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke ordered Wednesday.

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office requested the second competency evaluation after two psychologists initially determined Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, was not competent to proceed in the criminal case against him.

Bakke also canceled Alissa’s scheduled court appearance Thursday, and postponed his preliminary hearing, which had been set for Tuesday. It has not yet been rescheduled.

The judge ordered both the prosecution and defense to agree on a list of four evaluators and submit it to the court by Oct. 20. She will pick one evaluator from that list to carry out the second mental competency exam.

That second evaluation will be completed within 35 days of the evaluator’s appointment, she said in an order Wednesday.

A competency evaluation considers whether a criminal defendant is mentally ill or developmentally disabled, and whether that mental illness impedes the defendant’s ability to understand the court process. It centers on two prongs — whether defendants have a factual and rational understanding of the proceedings, and whether defendants are able to consult with their attorneys and assist in their own defenses.

Competency refers only to a defendant’s current mental capacity and is distinct from an insanity defense, which focuses on the defendant’s mental state at the time of the alleged crime.

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