COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The man accused of killing three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic stunned a courtroom Wednesday when he declared himself a "warrior for the babies" and said he was guilty and will not go to trial.
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, made the outburst before he was formally charged with 179 counts, including first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Bearded, unkempt, and cuffed at the wrists and ankles, Dear repeatedly disrupted the hourlong hearing, interrupting his public defender, Daniel King, and objecting to King's attempts to limit publicity in the case.
King - who represented Colorado theater shooter James Holmes - has asked the judge to impose a gag order on participants in the Planned Parenthood case before a trial.
"You'll never know what I saw in that clinic. Atrocities. The babies. That's what they want to seal," Dear shouted, prompting a deputy to squeeze his shoulder in an effort to quiet him.
"Seal the truth, huh? Kill the babies. That's what Planned Parenthood does," Dear yelled later.
King did not address the outbursts but raised doubts about whether Dear was competent to stand trial, saying defense attorneys wanted investigators to turn over evidence as soon as possible so they could assess the "depth of his mental illness."
Colorado Springs police have refused to discuss a potential motive in the Nov. 27 clinic attack, which wounded nine. But even before Wednesday's outbursts, there was mounting evidence.
Dear rambled to authorities about "no more baby parts" after his arrest. And a law enforcement official told the Associated Press this week that Dear asked at least one person in a nearby shopping center for directions to the clinic before opening fire.
At one point Wednesday, Dear yelled simply: "Protect babies!"
Later, he accused his attorneys of being in "cahoots" with Planned Parenthood to "shut me up."
The judge set the next hearing for Dec. 23. A first-degree murder conviction can lead to the death penalty.