BRIGHTON, Colo. – Scott Ostrem, the man accused of shooting and killing three people at a Thornton Walmart last fall, was ruled competent to stand trial by a 17th Judicial District Court judge Monday.
Ostrem was ordered to undergo a mental health competency evaluation at the state hospital in Pueblo at the end of January after he filed a motion in his murder case to represent himself. On Monday, Judge Mark Warner deemed Ostrem competent based on the evaluation.
Ostrem faces six counts of first degree murder – two for each of his victims – and 30 counts of attempted first-degree murder because of the other people who were in the Walmart store last November when Ostrem walked in and allegedly started shooting.
Ostrem told Denver7 in a jail house interview on Feb. 1 that he had been trying to get rid of his court-appointed public defender in the case for months, which led to his request and the subsequent competency evaluation.
“I’ve been trying to get rid of them since like November,” Ostrem said at the time, “but I can’t get any cooperation because I’m locked in here for 22 hours a day.”
He said he didn’t believe he was “in very good hands” with the public defender’s office representing him, and claimed that his counsel “refused” to file the motion on Ostrem’s behalf in December. The public defender’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Ostrem also admitted to Denver7 he is “not educated in law,” despite his plea to represent himself in the murder trial.
“I suppose with the allegations brought against me, they could have the assumption of that—that I’m a pretty bad person,” Ostrem said. “Up until I go to court, there’s really nothing I can really do.”
In addition to the dozens of felony charges Ostrem faces, he was also charged with a sentence enhancer that would double any prison and parole time he might face if convicted.
Now that Ostrem has been found competent, his preliminary hearing in the case is now scheduled for June 8.