The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday it was indicting Robert Lewis Dear Jr. on 68 federal counts associated to his November 2015 siege on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three dead and injured eight others.
Dear could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.
Dear, who has been declared incompetent to stand trial by a Colorado state court since May 2016, also faces 179 counts in state court related to the deadly attack on the reproductive health-care center.
On November 27, 2015, Dear arrived massively armed at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood with the intention to wage “war” because the clinic administered abortion services, according to the indictment. Dear had brought with him four semi-automatic rifles, five handguns, two other rifles, a shotgun, more than 500 rounds of ammunition, and propane tanks to use as bombs. Dear wore a a homemade bullet-proof vest.
Dear, who called himself “a warrior for the babies” at an early court appearance, had initially cooperated with Colorado law enforcement officers and indicated he wanted to argue that his siege was “justified” to prevent the “greater evil” of abortion. Those efforts stalled when Dear was appointed an attorney who proceeded with an insanity defense. A Colorado judge agreed with Dear’s defense team, initially ruling Dear incompetent to stand trial in May 2016. Dear has faced repeated evaluations, with each evaluation concluding he lacks the legal competency necessary to stand trial.
Dear faces 65 counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (the FACE Act) and three counts of using a firearm during a violent crime resulting in murder. If convicted, Dear faces a maximum penalty of death or life in prison. According to a press release announcing Dear’s indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty. Dear’s first appearance in the federal indictment is Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Dear’s next appearance to reevaluate his competency to stand trial for the Colorado charges is scheduled for January 2020.