DENVER – The man who acknowledges killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic idolized an abortion foe who killed a Florida doctor more than two decades earlier, court documents released Monday show.
Robert Dear told police he attacked the clinic in Colorado Springs because he was upset with the reproductive health organization for performing abortions and “the selling of baby parts,” according to the court documents. Dear also told investigators he put glue in the locks at an abortion clinic when he lived in South Carolina, a common protest technique among activists trying to shut down such facilities.
The documents were unsealed Monday after The Associated Press and other news outlets petitioned the state’s highest court for their release. Judge Gilbert Martinez initially refused to make them public, saying the media do not have a First Amendment right to access court documents, which prompted the monthslong court fight over records that are routinely released in criminal cases. They include Dear’s arrest warrant and applications for warrants to search Dear’s pickup truck, computer, emails and tumbledown trailer in rural Hartsel, Colorado.
Dear, 57, is charged with 179 counts, including murder, attempted murder and assault, in the Nov. 27 attack. He held police at bay for more than five hours at the clinic, injuring nine others and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people from surrounding businesses.
The dead included a police officer from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and two people who were accompanying friends to the clinic separately. In courtroom outbursts, Dear declared himself a “warrior for the babies” and said he was guilty. A hearing next month will reveal more about whether he is competent to continue with his criminal case.
The documents give the deepest look yet into Dear’s seething disdain for abortion providers.
He told police he admired Paul Hill, a former minister, who was executed in 2003 for the 1994 shootings of abortion provider Dr. John Bayard Britton and his bodyguard, a retired U.S. Air Force officer named James Herman Barrett, outside the Ladies Center in Pensacola, Florida.
Hill himself said he was inspired by the shooting death of another abortion doctor in Pensacola a year earlier. At the time of Hill’s execution, some urged that he be spared for fear the extreme wing of the anti-abortion movement would turn him into a martyr.
Hours after the gunbattle, Dear told police “he was happy with what he had done because his actions … ensured that no more abortions would be conducted at the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs,” which has since reopened.