Did James Holmes drop online hint about Aurora massacre?

James Holmes posted an online question – 'Will you visit me in prison?' – at some point before the Aurora, Colo., massacre. Hearings begin Monday to determine whether such evidence should be suppressed in his trial.

Bill Robles/ Reuters
A clean-shaven James Holmes appears in court in Centennial, Colo., in this Sept. 30 court sketch. Mr. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a suburban Denver movie theater in on July 20, 2012.

James Holmes, accused shooter in last summer’s Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, will return to court on Monday, as attorneys from both sides of the case argue what evidence jurors should be permitted to hear in the trial against Mr. Holmes.

The defense claims that nearly all of the prosecution’s key evidence – from the defendant’s iPhone to explosives seized in his apartment – is not permissible in the trial because it was obtained under illegal entry.

According to one motion to dismiss evidence, Holmes’s lawyers argue that proper legal procedure was not followed in searching Holmes’s apartment, or in the questioning of the defendant.

The prosecution counters that they needed to question Holmes about a bomb he was suspected of building in his apartment before the shooting. Though Holmes had asked for a lawyer after he was read his rights, police say that they needed to learn how to defuse the explosives in Holmes’s apartment.

Evidence collected from several online dating websites will also be discussed during motion hearings during the next several weeks.

Though Holmes left a very light online footprint, the defendant allegedly had accounts with the sites Match.com and AdultFriendFinder.

On his profiles, Holmes had written the question: “Will you visit me in prison?” Prosecutors hope to undermine the defense’s insanity plea with evidence from these sites, claiming that Holmes was aware of his actions. 

The judge has already rejected one defense attempt to suppress the website evidence, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier this month, prosecutors in Colorado were granted the right to see Holmes's mental health records, but not other medical records. None of the documents has been made public. 

News organizations have urged the judge to reject a request by Holmes's lawyer to limit public access to documents in the case, according to the Associated Press, which is one of petitioning organizations. The AP reports that the defense asked the judge to keep secret all transcripts from proceedings in open court, including all of the events and documents in the case. 

Holmes is charged with  killing 12 people and injuring 70 others during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Reports suggested that he was wearing a gas mask, set off a tear gas bomb, and opened fire on the audience.

The defendant pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. 

On April 1, prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty in Holmes’s trial. Colorado is one of 32 states with the death penalty.

The shooting, which took place on July 20, 2012, pushed Colorado legislators toward adopting new gun control measures. In a backlash, Colorado voters last month ousted two Democratic state senators who aggressively supported gun control. On Friday, recall organizers also won certification to launch a bid to oust state Sen. Evie Hudak (D) over gun control. If this bid succeeds, Republicans regain control of the state Senate. 

Holmes’s trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 14, 2014.

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