Prosecution: Holmes’ Failing Studies May Have Led To Theater Massacre
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Prosecutors suggest that the Aurora theater shooting suspect’s academic failure at the University of Colorado may have led to the attack.
A judge at the Arapahoe County Justice Center heard arguments Thursday afternoon about whether James Holmes’ university records can be turned over to prosecutors.
Prosecutors also suggested that he was failing his studies, making threats and was banned from campus prior to the shooting.
Holmes, 24, is a former neuroscience doctoral candidate at CU. He appeared in court at the hearing.
After the hearing, CU officials said contrary to what the prosecution claimed, Holmes was not banned from the campus.
Holmes is accused of shooting and killing 12 people and wounding 58 others on July 20 at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” at the Century 16 theater in Aurora.
“This was an individual who was failing at CU, lashed out against CU so much that they banned him from campus,” said legal analyst and attorney Craig Silverman.
Prosecutors are seeking copies of 100 pages of non-medical education records subpoenaed by prosecutors and turned over last week by the school to Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester. Defense attorneys are seeking to suppress the subpoena and have asked that nobody, even Sylvester, examine the documents.
“Expect the defense to object to everything in hopes that the judge will make an error that they can use down the road for their client’s benefit,” said Silverman.
Nicole, a woman who was inside the theater during the shooting, attended Thursday’s hearing. She believes the records should be released.
“It’s for the right of the people to know what’s going on especially to get a better understanding of what happens in court cases,” said Nicole.
The portion of the court records as to why the defense wants Holmes’ educational records remains sealed.
The defense said in court that the prosecution’s request is just a fishing expedition for their case.
Prosecutors said in court that they need the documents to gain access to a notebook reportedly containing violent descriptions of an attack. The notebook reportedly was in a package sent to CU psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.
“Something like revenge, hurt feelings, bad feelings, that’s something we all understand and motivates a lot of murders. It kind of goes against the insanity defense,” said Silverman.
Defense attorney Daniel King during court hearings said the notebook is protected by a doctor-patient relationship. King claims that Holmes is mentally ill and sought Fenton for help with that illness.
The university records could also contain his school application, recommendation letters, emails between professors about their impressions of Holmes, as well his grades and progress reports on his research.
Educational records released by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a school Holmes considered attending, contained such information including a letter of recommendation that describes Holmes as having “a great amount of intellectual and emotional maturity.”