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Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect pleads not guilty, held on $100 million bond in Colorado

King Soopers shooting suspect pleads not guilty by reason of insanity
King Soopers shooting suspect pleads not guilty by reason of insanity 01:28

On Tuesday, a judge ruled that Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa will stand trial. During the preliminary hearing, the defendant pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity via his attorney. 

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa appears in a Boulder County District courtroom at the Boulder County Justice Center on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.  CBS

He has been charged with allegedly shooting and killing 10 people at the Boulder South Table Mesa grocery store on March 22, 2021. 

During the preliminary hearing in Boulder, a detective described in great detail how the defendant allegedly shot and killed 10 people including Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. The detective then described the attempted murder of numerous other store employees and customers.  

The judge heard testimony about people hiding on store shelves and running out the back to avoid the gunman. One Boulder police officer shot the suspect in the leg. He then took off most of his clothes and surrendered.

He was found mentally competent to stand trial in October. Tuesday's preliminary hearing was held to determine if there is enough evidence for trial, which the judge ruled there was. 

Gunman Opens Fires At Grocery Store In Boulder, Colorado
BOULDER, CO - MARCH 25: A makeshift memorial is set up for the victims of the shooting at a King Soopers grocery store on March 25, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. The Monday shooting left 10 people dead, including one police officer. Chet Strange / Getty Images

After the hearing ended, an uncle of one of the victims told reporters how hard it was to be in the courtroom for it.

"Very tough day," said Bob Olds. "Hearing a few more details of your loved one's murder."

Michael Dougherty, Boulder's district attorney, called Tuesday's development a "step forward" for the families of the victims.

"This is a positive step forward today in the prosecution of the King Soopers shooter, but obviously a hard step for the victims' families," he said.

The suspect lived in nearby Arvada at the time, where authorities say he passed a background check to legally buy the Ruger AR-556 pistol six days before authorities say he used it in the shooting.

The defense will contend that Alissa was incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong during the attack, asserting his insanity. 

Olds also mentioned he believes that the gunman had intended to commit mass murder and sought to provoke a "suicide by cop" scenario.

The suspect remains in custody on $100 million bond. The judge tentatively set a trial date for August 2024, with jury selection scheduled to begin early that month. The suspect is scheduled for a competency hearing Jan. 12.

Those killed in the attack were Rikki Olds, Denny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Tralona Bartkowiak, Teri Leiker, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, Jody Waters and Eric Talley, who rushed into the store with an initial team of police officers.  

The trial will address not only the murders but also numerous counts of attempted murder, including charges related to the police officers who responded to the incident. One lingering question that remains unanswered is the motive behind the shooter's choice of this specific King Soopers. 

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