The man accused of killing 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder on Monday appeared in court for the first time on Thursday and was advised of a new charge against him.
JIM BENEMANN: --man in custody for the shootings is now charged with 10 counts of first degree murder. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was in court for a brief hearing this morning.
CBS 4's Rick Sallinger with more now from the Boulder County Courthouse. Rick.
RICK SALLINGER: Well, Jim, that hearing lasted just about five minutes. But two words stood out ON how the defense plans to approach this case, the defendant's mental health.
Wearing a COVID mask and handcuffs, Ahmad Alissa was brought into court in a wheelchair to hear the charges he now faces.
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY: 10 counts of murder in the first degree and one count of attempted murder in the first degree.
RICK SALLINGER: That attempted murder count involves an officer who was not injured. The defense wasted no time in raising the issue of mental health.
- That we cannot do anything until we are able to fully assess Mr. Alissa's mental illness.
RICK SALLINGER: Legal analyst Raj Chohan points out mental illness is different than insanity.
RAJ CHOHAN: Just because a person is mentally ill doesn't mean they're insane, and it doesn't mean they're going to prevail on a not guilty by reason of insanity plea.
RICK SALLINGER: In Colorado, the defendant in the 2015 Planned Parenthood mass shooting has still not been found competent to stand trial. In the Aurora theater shooting, the killer was convicted despite pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
Getting this case to a trial with a jury may take time.
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY: I'm confident that in the state of Colorado, and particularly here in Boulder County, that we could find 12 people who will be fair and who will be open minded.
RICK SALLINGER: In the meantime, Boulder police showed the handcuffs used to transport the grocery store suspect to jail, those of the gunned down officer, Eric Talley.
More charges are expected to be filed as this investigation continues, including into whether there was any influence regarding terrorism.
Live in Boulder, Rick Sallinger covering Colorado first.