DENVER (AP) — A lawyer for a 22-year old man accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Colorado supermarket in March is raising questions about whether he is mentally competent to proceed with the case, according to a notice filed in court Wednesday.
The details about the defense’s concerns about Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa’s mental health and how they might affect his ability to understand and participate in court proceedings are not known because the motion on it is sealed, as required under state law. However, a notice that such a motion was filed and the judge’s initial response is public.
Judge Ingrid Seftar Bakke said she would consider the issue at a previously scheduled court hearing Monday to determine whether there is enough evidence for Alissa to stand trial.
A spokesperson for District Attorney Matthew Dougherty, Shannon Carbone, said prosecutors expected the hearing on the evidence to go ahead as planned as well.
Alissa’s defense has previously said that he suffers from an unspecified mental illness.
A defendant’s ability to understand and assist in his defense is a separate legal issue than a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, which hinges on whether a defendant’s mental health affected their actions when an alleged crime was committed.