By JOHN STOTT and MATT KANE, Associated PressAssociated PressCOLUMBIA, Colo.
(AP) As the mother of a 19-year-old who was shot to death in Colorado on Sunday, the gunman’s family asked a judge Monday to put aside her grief and give her the ability to make decisions for herself.
The judge agreed.
The mother’s attorney argued that because she is legally responsible for the safety of her child, it is wrong that a judge should deny her right to seek help from the state.
The ruling comes after an emotional and lengthy hearing Monday morning in the Colorado Supreme Court.
The father of the shooter, 21-year old Matthew Lane, has not spoken publicly since the shooting and said in a court filing Monday that he has no idea why he is being tried for his son’s death.
His father, Steven Lane, said in court papers that his son was a loving son who never had a problem with his parents or anyone else in the community.
He said he is angry and confused that the case is being prosecuted by the state instead of a prosecutor.
The state is asking a judge to find that the family has not exhausted its options and allow her to determine whether to seek a court order to obtain a mental health evaluation and treatment.
The court hearing was held in the county courthouse in Aurora, just outside Denver, where a courtroom is set up for the hearing.
The hearing is scheduled to last several hours.
The Colorado attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Lane was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, shooting with a firearm in a school zone and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
His lawyer, Mark Bittner, said the prosecutor’s office would appeal the ruling.
The defense is expected to also appeal.
The case has been the subject of heated debate in Colorado.
Supporters of the state’s law banning semi-automatic rifles, including some Democrats and some Republicans, argue that it has not been widely used and that there is no need for a waiting period.
Law enforcement officials say the law has not prevented any mass shootings in the state, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported no such incidents.
The judge ruled that the state has exhausted its other options to seek treatment, including a court-ordered mental health assessment and treatment for Lane.
The defense attorney argued the state should have tried to get the court to order a psychiatric evaluation for Lane and his family.
Bittner said that was not possible under Colorado law.
The law only allows people to seek mental health treatment after they have been arrested or convicted of a felony, which could be as long as one year, and after a period of six months after a conviction.
A federal judge in Denver ruled earlier this year that the law did not require a wait period.