The man accused in the 2021 mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a recent court filing confirmed.
Defense attorneys for Ahmad Alissa made an objection in a Feb. 16 filing to a request by prosecutors for a forensic neuropsychological exam of the defendant. Prosecutors made the request early in February, saying they needed to determine whether the accused shooter's apparent lack of participation in treatment to restore his fitness to stand trial is a choice not to comply or a manifestation of a mental health disorder.
Ahmad Alissa, now 23, is accused of killing 10 people on March 22, 2021 in the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive. He faces 115 charges and sentence enhancers, including 10 charges of first-degree murder, dozens of charges of attempted murder and several counts related to possessing banned high-capacity magazines.
To be considered fit for trial, a defendant must have a rational understanding of the case against them and the ability to participate in their own defense. Alissa has undergone mental health treatment intended to restore his competence after evaluations found him unfit in December 2021. Doctors believe Alissa can eventually be restored to competence.
A forensic neuropsychological exam would assess factors such as intellectual function, attention and concentration, speech, perception, learning and memory, according to prosecutors' motion.
In objecting to the request, the defendant's attorneys said Alissa's severe symptoms limit his ability to interact, tend to be resistant to medication and make him unlikely to have the ability to participate in a neuropsychological evaluation.
They emphasized that four experts have already independently found him unfit for trial: Two in his initial competence evaluation, one chosen by prosecutors and a fourth hired by the defense attorneys. They argue a neuropsychological evaluation provides a picture of someone's current cognitive abilities, not psychiatric symptoms of a disorder such as schizophrenia or issues of competency.
The people killed were: Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Teri Leiker, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Jody Waters, 65; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; and, Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51.
Judge Ingrid Bakke has set periodic hearings to review the status of Alissa's competence. The next hearing is scheduled for April 28.