Ahmad Alissa, the suspect in the March 22 mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder, appeared in court on March 25 for an Appearance on Arrest Warrant for the first time since the incident. He will continue to be held without bond until a mental health status check has been completed and will face further charges in addition to the 11 counts that have filed against him at this time.
Alissa has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree and one count of attempted murder in the first degree. Alissa waived his right to a preliminary trial within 35 days, with defense attorney Kathryn Herold requesting three months for a mental status check to be completed.
“We would be requesting at this time that we actually set a status prior to setting the proof evident and presumption great hearing,” said Herold. “Our position is that we cannot do anything until we are able to fully assess Mr. Alissa's mental illness.
“We cannot begin to assess the nature and depth of Mr. Alissa's mental illness until we have the discovery from the government,” Herold continued. “It is my understanding that the government is continuing to investigate this case, the discovery is going to be voluminous, and so at this juncture it doesn't make sense to set the proof evident and presumption great hearing.”
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty contested Herold's request, arguing that three months was a longer timeframe than he had anticipated. Presiding Judge Thomas Mulvahill granted Herold's request, stating that a status conference will be set in 60-90 days.
"I understand the concerns that you have Mr. Dougherty, but at the same time I want to make sure the defense has ample opportunity to prepare to move forward once we do set that hearing,” Judge Mulvahill said.
Dougherty said that the crime scene is still being processed and that additional charges will be filed in the coming days.
Alissa spoke only once during the hearing, quietly answering “Yes” when asked to acknowledge his rights to be informed of the nature of the charges, a jury trial, and a reasonable timeframe in determining probable cause.
“It is anticipated that today's court appearance will be the first court appearance in what will likely be a lengthy court process,” said a press release issued by Dougherty's office after the hearing.
At a March 26 press conference, Dougherty said that the next court hearing would be announced the week of March 29.
Dougherty also stated his desire for the trial to be held in Boulder.
"I want to make sure that the people of Boulder have the opportunity for justice to be served and this trial to be held in Boulder County," said Dougherty.
Dougherty and Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold confirmed on March 26 that the gun Alissa used to carry out the shooting was a Ruger AR 556 purchased legally at Eagles Nest Armory on 64th Avenue in Arvada. John Mark Eagleton, owner of Eagles Nest Armory, said that Alissa passed a background check before purchasing the gun, and that Eagles Nest was cooperating with authorities.
Herold said that authorities are still working to determine Alissa's motive, as well as why he chose to carry out the attack at a King Soopers in Boulder, roughly 20 miles from Arvada.
Dougherty reiterated his comments from the March 25 court appearance stating that Alissa will face further charges. Dougherty specified that Alissa will face additional attempted murder charges for exchanging fire with responding police officers and will face further unspecified charges pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Herold said that 157 representatives from 26 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation have worked a combined 3,000 hours on the case as of March 26. Dougherty said that although the investigation has not yet been completed, it is "progressing rapidly."
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