DENVER (AP) – Records from two dating websites where Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes asked “Will you visit me in prison?” can be used as evidence in his trial, the judge ruled Thursday.
The question appeared on Holmes’ profiles at AdultFriendFinder.com and Match.com, which prosecutors say were set up before the shootings.
The ruling by Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. clears the way for prosecutors to use the prison question in their efforts to undermine Holmes’ claim that he was insane and did not understand the difference between right and wrong.
Law-enforcement officers say Holmes planned the attack for months, and prosecutors could argue that if Holmes expected to go to prison afterward, he knew the shooting was wrong.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. His lawyers acknowledge he was the shooter but say he was caught in a psychotic episode.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Holmes’ lawyers asked the judge to suppress the evidence from the two websites, saying Holmes has a constitutionally protected expectation that the records would be private. They also said the court orders prosecutors obtained to get the records were flawed.
Samour said part of the defense request was moot because prosecutors do not plan to use as evidence any communication Holmes had with other website subscribers. He also said defense attorneys didn’t show Holmes had a constitutionally protected expectation of privacy.
Holmes, now 25, is accused of shooting into a packed audience during a midnight showing of a Batman movie in the Denver suburb of Aurora in July 2012. Twelve people were killed and 70 were injured.
Holmes’ trial is scheduled for next year, with jury selection set to start in February.
By DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press
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