Robert Lewis Dear glares at his attorney Daniel King during an appearance in court on Wednesday in Colorado Springs, Colo. Dear, accused of killing three people and wounding nine others at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Nov. 27, wants to represent himself in court. (Andy Cross/Denver Post via AP, Pool)

The Colorado man who has claimed the slaying of three people during a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs said during a court appearance Wednesday that he no longer wants to be represented by attorneys from the state public defender’s office.

“I do not want them as my lawyers. I invoke my constitutional right to defend myself,” Robert Lewis Dear said during the court hearing, according to the Associated Press. “How can I trust my attorney when he says I’m incompetent in the newspaper?”

Dear, 57, faces 179 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault for the Nov. 27 shooting — which left three dead, including a police officer, and nine injured. If convicted, Dear faces a minimum sentence of life in prison and a maximum sentence of the death penalty.

Judge Gilbert Martinez ordered Dear to undergo a competency hearing, which will determine if he will be allowed to represent himself in court.

During a previous court appearance, Dear disrupted the proceedings — declaring “I am guilty” and calling himself a “warrior for the babies.” After the outburst, a defense attorney for Dear told the judge he was “serious concerns” about Dear’s competency to stand trial.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation has described the shooting as a politically motivated attack on Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s most prominent provider of abortions.

Abortion rights advocates say there is a clear connection between the shooting and a series of covertly filmed videos alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue. Anti-abortion groups have condemned the shooting, denied any knowledge of Dear and stressed that he is not affiliated with their efforts.


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