Prosecutors: Univ. Banned Colo. Suspect for Threatening Prof

Friday, 28 Sep 2012 01:33 PM

 

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The suspect in Colorado's deadly movie theater attack was barred from university property for threatening a professor, prosecutors said in court documents released Friday, raising more questions about why campus police didn't report his actions to other authorities.

The revelation 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with the university's statements that James Holmes was denied access to non-public parts of the campus because he had withdrawn from school.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 Holmes allegedly threatened has been blacked out. In court testimony Aug. 30, University of Colorado psychiatrist Lynne Fenton, also a professor at the school, said she contacted campus police after meeting with Holmes on June 11.

University officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

After weeks of secrecy surrounding the case, most of the documents filed in court were released to the public on Friday. But the release failed to answer several key questions about the July 20 tragedy — including what allegedly drove Holmes to commit the attack and what, if anything, the University of Colorado did once he reportedly threatened people there.

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.

Defense attorneys claim Holmes is mentally ill. Documents show Holmes' defense team includes a psychiatry expert, who was not identified, and legal experts presume that Holmes will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Just minutes before the shooting, Holmes tried unsuccessfully to call Fenton, defense attorneys have said.

Fenton also received a notebook in the mail from Holmes that reportedly contains descriptions of a violent attack, attorneys said. The package was seized by police from a university mailroom after the shooting.

Defense attorneys don't want it to be used as evidence, saying it's protected by doctor-patient privilege.

In the documents released Friday, prosecutors say the professor reported the threats and that Holmes was denied access to campus "as a result of these actions."

The documents show defense attorneys say the prosecutors' allegations are false, based on university statements.

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.

Not all documents are included in those released Friday. Judge William Sylvester kept from the public documents that contain privileged information, an arrest affidavit that contains details of the investigation, and subpoena and search warrant requests that contain address and names of witnesses.

Documents filed in the case from now on will be public, unless prosecutors or defense attorneys ask they not be released.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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