Theatre shooter was barred from campus for threats
DENVER — The suspect in a deadly movie theatre attack was barred from the University of Colorado campus for threatening a professor, weeks before he opened fire at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, prosecutors said in court documents released Friday.
That conflicts with the university’s statements that James Holmes was denied access to non-public parts of the campus because he had withdrawn from school.
The name of the person has been blacked out. University officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Just minutes before the shooting, Holmes tried unsuccessfully to call his university psychiatrist, defense attorneys have said.
Holmes also mailed a notebook to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton, a professor at the school, including violent descriptions of an attack, attorneys said. She never received the package addressed to her, and it wasn’t discovered in a university mail room until after the shooting.
Defense attorneys don’t want it to be used as evidence, saying it’s protected by doctor-patient privilege. Fenton last saw Holmes professionally on June 11 before seeing him again in court on Aug. 30.
In the documents released Friday, prosecutors say the professor reported the threats, and Holmes was denied access to campus “as a result of these actions.”
In other documents, defense attorneys say the prosecutors’ allegations are false, based on university statements.
After weeks of secrecy surrounding the case, most of the documents filed in court were released to the public on Friday.
Holmes, 24, faces 152 charges in the July 20 shooting at an Aurora movie theater during a special midnight showing of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” The attack killed 12 people and injured 58 others.
The defense has a psychiatry expert on its defense team and plans to use him as an expert, giving further insight into a possible insanity defense by Holmes, the documents showed.
Defense attorneys claim Holmes is mentally ill, raising the possibility that Holmes will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
In court, prosecutors suggested Holmes was angry at the failure of a once promising academic career and stockpiled weapons, ammunition, tear gas grenades, and body armor as his research deteriorated and professors urged him to get into another profession. Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson said Holmes failed a key oral exam in June, was banned from campus and began to voluntarily withdraw from the school.