The shooter from the abortion clinic rampage last Friday will be charged with first-degree murder. Fifty-seven-year-old Robert Lewis Dear appeared in court on Monday via a video conference from jail. The only time he spoke was to indicate that he understood the judge and did not have any questions. Prosecutors will file formal charges next week.
During the court proceedings, no motive or reason for the tragic event was addressed by the prosecution or the defense. The shooting happened at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. Three people were killed and nine people were injured in the tragedy.
Shooter Charged with Rape in the Past
According to police records from South Carolina, this not the first time the man has been arrested. In 1982, he was charged with rape in North Charleston, but it is not known whether the case resulted in a conviction.
Media outlets have reported that Dear said the words "no more baby parts" to investigators following his arrest, and Planned Parenthood believes that the man committed the atrocity as an act against abortion. There has been a considerable amount of controversy this year regarding recordings of conversations by Planned Parenthood officials. In the recordings, the officials can be heard discussing how the remains of dead fetuses should be treated. The violence on Friday may have been related to that controversy.
Could Be Sentenced to Death if Convicted
During Monday's trial, Dear wore a padded vest, leg irons and handcuffs. The judge told Dear that he could be sentenced to death or life without parole if he is convicted of first degree murder in the case. The prosecution has 63 days to decide if it will seek the death penalty as punishment.
During his court appearance, Dear stood before the court on a video screen with his public defender. A number of victims also sat in the courtroom to view the proceedings.
Officials from the U.S. Justice Department are helping with the investigation. This indicates that the government may want to initiate a civil rights or terrorism case against Dear.
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