According to newly released court documents, James Holmes' psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, definitely contacted University of Colorado authorities about his having "homicidal thoughts" 38 days before he shot and killed 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.
Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. ordered 12 search warrant affidavits and an affidavit in support of warrantless arrest be unsealed Thursday evening; a previous judge handing the case had them sealed during the early stages of the investigation. But the new documents confirms and provides new details to previous reports that Fenton (seen at right in an early trial photo) approached authorities about Holmes. The documents show Fenton went to University of Colorado police officer Lynn Whitten and informed her that Holmes confessed homicidal thoughts to her and that he was a danger to the public, "per her requirement," the documents say. Whitten responded "by deactivating Holmes' key-card access to secure areas of University of Colorado medical campus buildings," the Denver Post writes. Fenton also told Whitten that Holmes had "stopped seeing her and had begun threatening her via text message," the documents state. This brings up a very important question in the James Holmes case, per the Post:
But the documents don't reveal what — if anything — campus authorities did to investigate Holmes until 38 days later, when 12 people were dead in the July 20 movie theater shootings, 58 more were injured by gunfire and Aurora police came to campus to ask questions.
Fenton is being sued by a victim's widow for not doing enough to stop Holmes. The Post reports Fenton allegedly declined to have Holmes be taken in for a psychiatric examination, though. The documents don't confirm or deny this.
Holmes will go to trial shortly for killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 when he attacked a midnight showing of The Dark Night Rises. Holmes will face the death penalty when he goes on trial, but his lawyers are expected to mount a mental health defense. As we've explained, the prosecution must prove Holmes' sanity to defeat an insanity defense, which is not typical procedure in most states. The defense usually needs to prove their client is insane.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.