DENVER (CBS4)– The suspect arrested in an attempted sexual assault and attack on the Auraria Campus has been charged with attempted murder. Police also believe he could be the same man involved in a similar attack more than a month ago.

According to the arrest affidavit, both attacks happened inside classrooms in the same building on campus. Police also believe James Alphonso Holmes was targeting another student in the library just minutes before the attempted assault.

Holmes, 55, has been charged with attempted sexual assault and attempted murder in the violent attack.

Court documents show Holmes first asked the victim for help with math at midday on May 9. Then he allegedly used a belt to strangle her, causing her to nearly black out before she was able to escape.

“Knowing that the person has been identified and arrested and that we have a good case against them is a relief to the entire campus community,” said Auraria Campus Police Chief Mike Phibbs.

James Alphonso Holmes (credit: CBS)

James Alphonso Holmes (credit: CBS)

The same documents reveal details about a similar incident last month. The suspect again asked for help with math before he forced the victim to the ground. She was also able to escape.

“We were aware of a problem person on campus and then the victim in the second case was a great person who came forward, who fought and got away and gave us good information and a good description,” said Phibbs.

Phibbs said Holmes has no connection to the schools on campus and is an example of what he calls a “unique problem” for the urban campus.

“We have public transportation surrounding us,” said Phibbs. “Other people use that same transportation line to travel through campus who generally don’t have a business here.

“It being a downtown campus you never really know who is a student and who isn’t.”

Holmes is a registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal history.

Auraira Campus Police remind students to be alert on campus and to take advantage of the emergency phones and safe escort programs.


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