Suspect in Colorado clinic shooting told he faces murder charge

Possible Motives Circulate in Planned Parenthood Shooting

The man accused of killing three people and wounding nine in a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was told he faces charges including first-degree murder during his first court appearance on Monday.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, appearing by video link from jail, spoke only to confirm that he understood and to tell the judge he had no questions. There was no discussion of the motives during the brief hearing, and formal charges will be filed at a court appearance scheduled for Dec. 9.

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Planned Parenthood has said reports that Dear told investigators "no more baby parts" after his arrest following Friday afternoon's deadly siege showed he was acting on an anti-abortion agenda.

Chief Judge Gil Martinez told Dear, who was in handcuffs and leg irons and strapped into a padded vest, apparently for his own safety, that if convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life without parole or a maximum of death.

Images related to the shooting rampage:
24 PHOTOS
Colorado Springs shooting - Planned Parenthood
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Suspect in Colorado clinic shooting told he faces murder charge
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: A suspect is led away in handcuffs by police during an active shooter situation outside a Planned Parenthood facility where an active shooter reportedly injured up to eleven people, including at least five police officers, on November 27, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Police continue to investigate the scene and are searching the buiding for possible explosive devices. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: A suspect is led away in handcuffs by police during an active shooter situation outside a Planned Parenthood facility where an active shooter reportedly injured up to eleven people, including at least five police officers, on November 27, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Police continue to investigate the scene and are searching the buiding for possible explosive devices. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: A suspect is led away in handcuffs by police during an active shooter situation outside a Planned Parenthood facility where an active shooter reportedly injured up to eleven people, including at least five police officers, on November 27, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Police continue to investigate the scene and are searching the buiding for possible explosive devices. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
People are escorted away from the scene by police after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood facility on Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. The gunman was captured alive. (Daniel Owen/Colorado Springs Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: An officer waits on the intersection of Windmill and Centennial while facing south towards the scene of a shooting November 27, 2015 in Colorado Springs, CO. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: People are rescued near the scene of a shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs Friday November 27, 2015.(Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: People are rescued near the scene of a shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs Friday November 27, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Joan Motolinia shows concern over his sister who was inside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, CO. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Police respond to the scene with an active shooter near the Planned Parenthood at Fillmore and Centennial in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (Stacie Scott/Colorado Springs Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
A Colorado Springs police officer is transported from the tactical vehicle to an ambulance after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood facility on Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. The gunman was captured alive. (Daniel Owen/Colorado Springs Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: A member of the Colorado Springs sheriff's department secures the scene during an active shooter situation near a Planned Parenthood facility where an unidentified suspect has reportedly injured up to nine people, including at least four police officers, on November 27, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A standoff has developed outside the clinic and the area is on lockdown. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Colorado Springs Police spokesperson Lt. Catherine Buckley addresses the media during an active shooter situation near a Planned Parenthood facility where an unidentified suspect has reportedly injured up to nine people, including at least four police officers, on November 27, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A standoff developed outside the clinic and the area is on lockdown. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: People are rescued near the scene of a shooting in Colorado Springs Friday November 27, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: People are rescued near the scene of a shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs Friday November 27, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Colorado Springs rescue personnel stand ready near the scene of an active shooting in Colorado Springs Friday November 27, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
An officer from the Colorado Springs K-9 Unit is being transferred from a tactical vehicle to an ambulance before being transported from the scene during a shooting incident n Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (Daniel Owen/Colorado Springs Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
An officer patrols the perimeter during a shooting incident in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (Daniel Owen/Colorado Springs Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
Police respond to the scene with an active shooter near the Planned Parenthood at Fillmore and Centennial in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (Stacie Scott/Colorado Springs Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
A gunman opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood facility on Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. The gunman was captured alive. (Daniel Owen/Colorado Springs Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOV. 27: Members of law enforcement enter the emergency room at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs where some people were transported from an active shooting near a shopping center, where an armed person is insided a Planned Parenthood and has been shooting at police officers outside. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Colorado Springs police officers and rescue personnel transport an injured officer near the scene of an active shooting in Colorado Springs Friday November 27, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Colorado Springs police officers search the area near the scene of an active shooting in Colorado Springs Friday November 27, 2015. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
#BREAKING: Colorado Springs firefighters responding to active shooter at Planned Parenthood: https://t.co/57H9v2T3uq
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District Attorney Dan May said prosecutors have 63 days after Dear's arraignment to decide whether to bring a death penalty case. Documents in the investigation were ordered sealed by the court on Monday.

"I personally will be part of the prosecution team," May told reporters outside after the hearing.

For his appearance by closed-circuit camera from the jail where he is being held without bond, Dear was flanked by Dan King of the state's public defender's office. King defended the Colorado movie massacre gunman, James Holmes.

A handful of victims sat in the front of the packed courtroom, watching Dear on a screen. They were ushered out of a different door than the journalists.

VIDEO CONTROVERSY

The rampage blamed on the South Carolina native is believed to have been the first deadly attack on a U.S. abortion provider in six years. The Colorado Springs center has been the target of protests by anti-abortion activists.

A police officer and two civilians died in the attack, which, according to newly emerging details, began just outside the building, adjacent to a shopping area on the northwest side of Colorado's second-largest city.

Ke'Arre Stewart, 29, an Iraq war veteran, was shot in front of the clinic after walking out to talk on his cell phone. Wounded, he ran back inside to warn others to take cover, his brother told NBC News. Stewart died of his wound.

"I believe that's his military instinct, you know," NBC News quoted his brother, Leyonte Chandler, as saying. "Before his time ran out, I guess that was his main priority ... to help and save other lives."

Planned Parenthood already was on heightened alert against threats of violence nationwide. Some affiliates said they would review their security measures further.

Several U.S. media outlets, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, have said Dear used the phrase "no more baby parts" in statements he made to investigators after his surrender. Reuters could not independently confirm those reports.

The reported comment was widely seen as an apparent reference to secretly recorded videos released months ago that anti-abortion groups have said showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood has said the videos were produced to distort the issue of fetal-tissue donations made by the group for scientific research. It says reimbursements the organization received to cover the costs of those donations were neither unlawful nor unethical.

Authorities have said they do not know what precipitated the attack and have declined to discuss publicly the suspect's motives.

U.S. Justice Department officials have joined the investigation, raising the possibility the federal government could bring a terrorism or civil rights case against Dear.

Colorado mourns victims of Planned Parenthood shooting:

19 PHOTOS
Colorado mourns Planned Parenthood shooting victims, officer Garrett Swasey
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Suspect in Colorado clinic shooting told he faces murder charge
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Tracy Gilliland cries while watching old video of Officer Garrett Swasey ice skating when he was younger at Hope Chapel on November 29, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed in Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood, was a church elder with the congregation and a large part of the community at the church. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Churchgoers sing at the beginning of service at Hope Chapel on November 29, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed in Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood, was a church elder with the congregation and a large part of the community at the church. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Hands wave in the air while churchgoers sing at Hope Chapel on November 29, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed in Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood, was a church elder with the congregation and a large part of the community at the church. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Sarah Donteville hugs Kaitlin Churchill after service at Hope Chapel on November 29, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed in Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood, was a church elder with the congregation and a large part of the community at the church. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 29: Cambria Hooks starts laughing while crying after the congregation made jokes about Officer Garrett Swasey's ice skating at Hope Chapel on November 29, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed in Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood, was a church elder with the congregation and a large part of the community at the church. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Colorado Springs, CO - NOV, 28: Officers stand on the court during a moment of silence and then the national anthem for Garrett Swasey before the start of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs basketball game on the campus in in Colorado Springs, CO on Saturday, November 28, 2015. (Photo by Matthew Staver/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs held a candlelight vigil at the Gallogly Events Center November 28, 2015 for UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed along with two others at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic November 27, 2015. Several others were injured including five law enforcement officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: A moment of prayer during a vigil at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church November 28, 2015. More than one hundred people gathered in the church to remember fallen officer Garrett Swasey and two others who were killed as well as those injured. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student Tori Lord during a candlelight vigil at the Gallogly Events Center November 28, 2015 for UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed along with two others at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic November 27, 2015. Several others were injured including five law enforcement officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs held a candlelight vigil at the Gallogly Events Center November 28, 2015 for UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed along with two others at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic November 27, 2015. Several others were injured including five law enforcement officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: Hundreds gather around the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lion statue during a candlelight vigil at the Gallogly Events Center November 28, 2015 for UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed along with two others at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic November 27, 2015. Several others were injured including five law enforcement officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: University of Colorado Colorado Springs student Isaac Brumm during a candlelight vigil out in front of the the Gallogly Events Center November 28, 2015 for UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed along with two others at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic November 27, 2015. Several others were injured including five law enforcement officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: Show of support during a vigil at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs vigil inside the Gallogly Events Center November 28, 2015 for UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed along with two others at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic November 27, 2015. Several others were injured including five law enforcement officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs held a candlelight vigil at the Gallogly Events Center November 28, 2015 for UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed along with two others at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic November 27, 2015. Several others were injured including five law enforcement officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: Mary Hueske working as a floater for Colorado Planned Parenthood writes a letter to the families of those killed in Friday's shooting before a vigil at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church November 28, 2015. More than one hundred people gathered in the church to remember fallen officer Garrett Swasey and two others who were killed as well as those injured. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS,CO - November 28: A sign on a window at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Public Safety office on campus November 28, 2015 to honor of fallen police officer Garrett Swasey who was shot and killed during a shooting rampage at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic Friday November 27, 2015. Two other people were shot and killed and several others were injured including several Colorado Springs police officers. Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 28: Roy Kieffer prays after laying flowers at a memorial at Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard on November 28, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Life in Colorado Springs attempts to go back to normal after the shooting that killed three people including one police officer that ended at a Planned Parenthood. Stores in the strip mall across from the Planned Parenthood have begun to reopen. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 28: Flowers are laid on the corner as a memorial at Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard on November 28, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Life in Colorado Springs attempts to go back to normal after the shooting that killed three people including one police officer that ended at a Planned Parenthood. Stores in the strip mall across from the Planned Parenthood have begun to reopen. (Photo by Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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