CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Several victims of the Colorado theater shooting have filed complaints alleging the state corrections department violated their rights by refusing to reveal where the gunman is serving his life sentence, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Several survivors of the 2012 attack that killed 12 and injured 70 have said they were upset after prison officials quietly transferred James Holmes to an out-of-state prison in January. They have repeatedly refused to tell the public, including prosecutors, survivors and the families of the dead, where or how he is being held.
A state committee that handles victims’ rights complaints will address the issue at its Friday meeting. The panel could require prison officials to provide details of Holmes’ confinement, but it’s not clear whether they would be forced to comply.
If the committee agrees victims’ rights were violated, it also could propose ways the department can keep victims better informed in the future, Deputy District Attorney Lisa Teesch-Maguire said.
A message to a prisons spokeswoman was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Holmes was convicted in August of opening fire in a crowded Denver-area movie theater in July 2012. Jurors could not agree that he deserved the death penalty, so he is serving a life sentence.
Some victims testified during Holmes’ sentencing that they didn’t want him imprisoned in California, closer to his parents who live near San Diego. Prison officials had assured prosecutors last year that they would not move him there.
Documents provided to The Associated Press and other news outlets though open-records requests later revealed that Holmes was transferred partly because another inmate pushed his way through a partially open door and attacked him when he was being held in Colorado’s highest security prison.
Prison officials believed other inmates were likely to continue to target Holmes “because of the high profile nature of his crimes,” according to the documents.
Not knowing Holmes’ location meant attorneys representing several shooting victims and their families in a lawsuit against theater owner Cinemark were not able to question him during their civil trial unfolding this week in state court.
Without Holmes’ testimony, attorneys were forced to rely on the spiral notebook in which he detailed elaborate plans for the killings.
By Sadie Gurman, AP Writer
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