COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The man accused of killing three people and wounding nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado stunned a courtroom Wednesday by declaring he is a “warrior for the babies” and won’t go to trial.
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, made the outburst before he was formally charged with first-degree murder and other counts in a Colorado Springs courtroom.
Colorado Springs police have declined to discuss a potential motive in the Nov. 27 attack, but there had been mounting evidence to suggest Dear was deeply concerned about abortion.
He rambled to authorities about “no more baby parts” after his arrest. And a law enforcement official said this week that the gunman asked at least one person in a nearby shopping center for directions to the clinic before opening fire. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation and spoke this week to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Dear has lived in remote locations without electricity or water and was known to hold survivalist ideas.
One of his three ex-wives, Barbara Mescher Micheau of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, said he vandalized a South Carolina abortion clinic at least 20 years earlier, announcing to her that he had put glue in the locks of its doors, a common protest technique among activists trying to shut down abortion clinics.
A first-degree murder conviction can lead to life in prison or the death penalty.
Killed in the attack were Garrett Swasey, 44, a University of Colorado-Colorado Springs officer who rushed to the scene; Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, an Iraq war veteran who was accompanying someone at the clinic; and Jennifer Markovsky, 35, who also accompanied a friend at the clinic.
Five other officers were shot and wounded in the rampage.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said Monday that responding officers rescued 24 people from inside the clinic building and helped remove 300 people from surrounding businesses where they had been hiding while the shooting unfolded.