The trial of the accused Wal-Mart shooter Scott Ostrem is scheduled to begin in January, but District Judge Mark Warner left room for Ostrem’s defense to change his plea between now and then. …
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The trial of the accused Wal-Mart shooter Scott Ostrem is scheduled to begin in January, but District Judge Mark Warner left room for Ostrem’s defense to change his plea between now and then.
Warner entered a not guilty plea for Ostrem at an Aug. 24 arraignment hearing after turning down the defense team’s request to delay the plea hearing.
Ostrem’s public defender Emily Fleishchmann said she needed additional time to review Ostrem’s mental competency status.
“We certainly don’t want to forego a mental condition defense by entering a plea today, and that’s why we are in the position where we must ask the court of a continuance,” Fleishchmann said.
Warner turned down that request, saying Fleishchmann would have the next 56 days to amend the guilty plea.
But Warner scheduled several hearings before the January trial date. Ostrem will be back in court Aug. 31 while his attorneys and the District Attorney’s office review evidence. Motions hearing from both sides are scheduled for Oct. 19, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.
The trial itself is scheduled to begin Jan. 28, 2019. Warner set aside 10 days for the trial.
Family members of the victims and witnesses to the alleged shooting filled the courtroom again and many wore T-shirts with their loved-ones faces or buttons bearing their names. One woman interrupted the hearing briefly, yelling that Ostrem was a coward, before leaving the room.
Judge Warner warned family members against outbursts, saying he did not want to have to clear the courtroom.
Ostrem is accused of walking into the Wal-Mart on Nov. 1, taking a handgun from his pocket and firing at the shoppers, many of whom were waiting in the store’s checkout line.
Three people were killed in the shooting; 66-year-old Carlos Moreno, of Thornton, 26-year-old Victor Vasquez of Denver and Pamela Marques, 52, of Denver.
Then, according to police, Ostrem walked back out of the store, got into his car and drove away.
Ostrem faces six counts of murder for three victims, as well as a host of other charges.
Ostrem faces two different kinds murder charges for each victim - a charge of murder after deliberation and a charge of murder with extreme indifference. Each carries an ultimate penalty of death.
He also faces 45 charges of attempted murder with extreme indifference, a class 2 felony. Each count carries a mandatory sentence of up to 22 years.
The final count calls for a mandatory sentence for violent crimes that could boost the attempted murder sentences up to 48 years each.
The trial was delayed for several months in January while Ostrem’s mental fitness to stand trial was reviewed at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo. He was deemed competent to stand trial in April.
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