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Defense Gets Access To Colorado Shooting Suspect

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James Holmes (credit: Arapahoe County Sheriff)

James Holmes (credit: Arapahoe County Sheriff)

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — A judge ordered the jail where accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is being held to allow Holmes’ attorneys to see their client at least once a day after his lawyers complained they were barred from seeing him this week.

Judge William Sylvester also amended a sweeping gag order he imposed after the July 20 shootings that barred the university where Holmes was a graduate student from releasing any information about Holmes.

Sylvester’s orders were released Friday.

Holmes, 24, is accused of opening fire inside a suburban Aurora theater during a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Twelve people were killed and 58 others were injured. Holmes is charged with multiple first-degree murder and attempted murder counts. He has yet to enter a plea.

Holmes’ attorneys told Sylvester they were denied access to Holmes on Thursday at the Arapahoe County jail and that jail officials wouldn’t tell them why. Sylvester ordered jail officers to permit “reasonable” access to their client at least once a day.

Holmes’ lawyers had told the judge Wednesday their client had been taken to a hospital. They refused to say why, and the judge agreed to postpone a hearing scheduled for Thursday until Dec. 10.

Sylvester also amended a sweeping gag order he imposed on the case shortly after the shootings and said that the University of Colorado may consider open records requests about Holmes or other aspects of the case. Holmes was a graduate student at the university until weeks before the shootings.

Sylvester had barred the university and police agencies from releasing details about Holmes’ tenure at CU or about their investigations, saying any information could jeopardize preparations for trial by prosecuting and defense attorneys.

In the ruling released Friday, the judge said the prosecution and defense had had enough time to collect information and that the University of Colorado, including university police, could consider public records requests from the news media and the public under existing state law.

That information could include any interactions Holmes had with campus police and other university staff before the shootings. The university had previously cited the gag order in declining to release any information about Holmes.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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