Man accused in Colorado supermarket massacre found to have untreated mental illness, deemed legally sane at time of attack

BOULDER, Colo. – State experts have determined that the man accused of the tragic shooting that took the lives of 10 individuals at a Colorado supermarket in 2021 had untreated mental illness. Despite this, the experts found that the man, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was legally sane at the time of the attack. This revelation came to light during a court hearing where Alissa, accompanied by his relatives and dressed in a jail uniform with shackles on his wrists, was present.

The results of the sanity evaluation conducted on Alissa at the state mental hospital were not disclosed to the public but were discussed during the hearing. According to the defense team, the evaluators attributed the attack to Alissa’s untreated schizophrenia, which included auditory hallucinations. They also noted that their conclusion on Alissa’s sanity during the attack was less certain compared to other cases, without providing further details.

The prosecution did not offer any additional information during the hearing regarding the findings of the evaluation. District Attorney Michael Dougherty refrained from commenting on the defense team’s description of the evaluation’s outcomes, stating that his remarks are limited to what has been publicly disclosed about the evaluation.

Alissa has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for the shooting that occurred on March 22, 2021, at a King Soopers store in Boulder. His defense team argues that he did not grasp the distinction between right and wrong at the time of the shooting and, therefore, should not be held accountable for the crime. Investigators revealed that Alissa had researched how to conduct a mass shooting prior to his attack, targeting moving individuals and using a firearm with a high-capacity magazine.

Concerns about Alissa’s mental health were raised by his defense team immediately after the shooting. The issue of his mental competence to stand trial, comprehend court proceedings, and assist his lawyers further delayed the legal process. Following forced medication and a subsequent determination of mental competence, Alissa entered the plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in November.

During the recent court hearing, Judge Ingrid Bakke granted the defense’s request for a second evaluation of Alissa’s sanity at the time of the shooting by their own expert. However, the judge rejected a proposal to postpone the trial until March 2025, deciding instead to delay the trial for about a month, with proceedings scheduled to commence on September 2. This decision was made despite objections from the victims’ families, who urged for closure before the upcoming holidays.

Amidst emotional discussions between the parties involved in the case, Erika Mahoney, daughter of one of the victims, expressed relief at the judge’s decision to only postpone the trial by a month. She emphasized the importance of moving forward and seeking closure for the families affected by the tragedy.