The Arvada man suspected of killing 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers grocery store in March will be re-evaluated by experts to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial, the chief justice ordered Wednesday from the 20th Judicial District, Ingrid Bakke.
The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office requested the second skills assessment after two psychologists initially determined that Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, was not competent to continue the criminal case against him.
Bakke also canceled Alissa’s scheduled court appearance on Thursday and postponed her preliminary hearing, which had been set for Tuesday. It has not yet been reprogrammed.
The judge ordered both the prosecution and the defense to agree on a list of four assessors and submit it to the court by October 20. She will choose an assessor from this list to perform the second mental competency test.
This second assessment will be completed within 35 days of the assessor’s appointment, she said in an order on Wednesday.
A skills assessment examines whether a criminal accused has a mental illness or intellectual disability, and whether that mental illness interferes with the accused’s ability to understand the court process. It focuses on two areas – whether defendants have a factual and rational understanding of the process, and whether defendants are able to consult their lawyers and assist with their own defenses.
The jurisdiction refers only to the current mental capacity of an accused and is distinct from a defense of insanity, which focuses on the mental state of the accused at the time of the alleged crime.