Colorado shooting bombshell: Defense says suspect was psychiatric patient (+video)
Information on the Colorado shooting suspect was in a defense motion submitted to the judge in which it accused the prosecution of leaking privileged information.
Defense lawyers for the gunman accused in the Colorado movie theater massacre revealed in a court filing made public on Friday that their client was a psychiatric patient of a professor at the University of Colorado and that he had sent her a message mailed prior to the shooting.Skip to next paragraph
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The lawyers said former graduate student James Holmes was being treated by Dr. Lynne Fenton, a board certified psychiatrist at the university’s Anshutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Col.
The new details are likely to raise questions about whether the trained mental health expert could have – or should have – identified Mr. Holmes as a danger to the community prior to the July 20 mass murder.
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The new details also add another layer of mystery concerning a “package” that was discovered at the university on Monday. It had been mailed by Holmes prior to the massacre and was addressed to Dr. Fenton.
Press reports said the package included a notebook with crude drawings and descriptions of an attack.
If accurate, such a notebook might be used by prosecutors to bolster the already significant evidence that Holmes carefully planned his midnight assault on a defenseless audience of moviegoers at the premier midnight showing of the new Batman film. Such evidence of careful premeditation would undercut arguments that Holmes snapped, or went temporarily “postal” prior to and during the shootings.
The notebook might also be useful in identifying a motive behind the attack, and Holmes’ apparent affinity with “the Joker,” a villain in the Batman films.
Holmes colored his hair red before the attack, and reportedly told police he was the Joker.
Holmes’ status as a psychiatric patient was revealed in a motion – filed to the trial judge in the case – accusing prosecutors and/or investigators of leaking privileged details about the package and Holmes’ attempted communication with his psychiatrist to the media on Thursday.
The lawyers, Daniel King and Tamara Brady, are both employed by the Colorado public defender’s office. They asked the judge to impose sanctions against the state, including an order that prosecutors immediately produce to the defense all information and evidence related to the seized package, including the names of everyone with access to the evidence.
“The government’s disclosure of this confidential and privileged information [to the media] has placed Mr. Holmes’ constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by an impartial jury in serious jeopardy,” the lawyers wrote.