COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Robert Dear, the man who has admitted to killing three people and injuring nine others at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in November 2015, is now facing charges in federal court.
A grand jury indicted Dear on 65 counts of violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. He is also facing three counts of use of a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death where the killing is a murder.
Federal prosecutors said Dear, 61, is not charged with homicide because federal law does not have a homicide offense that applies in this case.
If convicted, Dear could face the death penalty. If he is convicted and not sentenced to death, he would face between 10 years and life in prison. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty in this particular case.
“The Department will follow the usual rigorous protocol to thoroughly consider all factual and legal issues relevant to that decision, which will necessarily involve consultation with the counsel for the defendant,” prosecutors said in a statement. “In addition, consultation with the victims’ families is an important part of this decision-making process and no decision will be made before conferring with them.”
The shooting happened November 27, 2015, at the Planned Parenthood on Centennial Boulevard in western Colorado Springs. Three people–Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart, and UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey–were killed in the shooting. Nine other people, including four law enforcement officers, were injured.
Dear still faces 179 charges, including murder and attempted murder, in El Paso County District Court. That case has not advanced since May 2016, when the court first deemed Dear mentally incompetent to stand trial. Last year, a court ruled he can be forcibly medicated. Dear’s next court appearance in that case is set for January 9.
Federal prosecutors said they filed the charges now because the state case has failed to advance, and the federal FACE Act has a five-year statute of limitations.
“In consideration of the views of both the 4th Judicial District Attorney and victims, the decision was made to file charges now,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Dear was taken into federal custody Monday morning at the state mental hospital in Pueblo. He will appear in federal court in Denver at 2 p.m. There, he will be advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. Assuming that he is detained following this hearing, the U.S. Marshals will determine where he will be held in federal custody.
El Paso County prosecutors said they support the indictment.
“As one of the many responding agencies, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado since November 27, 2015,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. “The indictment, which is fully supported by our office, is a culmination of those joint efforts, and we hope shall serve as notice that the victims in this case will never be forgotten. We want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their diligent work.”