Robert Dear, the man accused of killing three people Friday with a semiautomatic rifle during an assault on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, allegedly had a history of violence before Friday’s attack, the New York Times reported. Dear was reportedly an angry man who used religion to mask his behavior, which included keeping the company of several women while he was married and allegedly abusing them as well.
In divorce papers from the early 1990s, Barbara Micheau had said Dear, whom she had been married to for seven years, kicked and beat her on a floor while they were married, the Times reported. She also said in an affidavit that he had a serious gambling problem and cheated on her, fathering two children with other women.
To find excuses for his actions, Dear turned to religion, Micheau said. “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases,” Micheau said in court documents. “He is obsessed with the world coming to an end,” she added.
In 1992, Dear was arrested after being suspected of rape in South Carolina, but no records showed that he was ever convicted of the crime. The woman in the case said in a police report that Dear had asked her out numerous times, even though she refused, and eventually he came to her apartment and sexually assaulted her, the Times reported.
The only other witness to the incident didn’t want to testify, and said that she and her husband, who was away on a Navy submarine at the time, were about to move across the country. Dear told police that he and the woman did have a sexual encounter, but that it was consensual.
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) December 1, 2015
Dear could face the death penalty if convicted of killing the three people, including one police officer, NBC News reported. During the five-hour incident that ended in Dear’s surrender, nine other people were wounded.
It was unclear what motivated Dear to open fire in the clinic. Investigators have been working to understand a rambling statement Dear made after he was arrested, during which he said, “no more baby parts,” the Huffington Post reported.
Some of Dear's acquaintances, who spoke to the Times on the condition of anonymity, said he was strictly against abortion and at times heaped praise on those who attacked abortion clinics. However, one of his ex-wives, Pamela Ross, said Dear did not specifically obsess over abortion.