Prosecutors can view accused Colorado theater gunman's college records

DENVER Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:04pm EDT

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes makes his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. REUTERS/RJ Sangosti/Pool

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes makes his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/RJ Sangosti/Pool

Related Topics

DENVER (Reuters) - Prosecutors in the case against accused movie theater gunman James Holmes can see his college records that could shed light on the former graduate student's intent and motive, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Lawyers defending Holmes sought to prevent prosecutors from viewing his records at the University of Colorado, arguing that the request was "a fishing expedition."

Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater on July 20.

Prosecutors have said Holmes failed his oral examinations at the university in March, and was told by a faculty member that perhaps he was not a good fit for the competitive neuroscience PhD program.

Holmes then began a voluntary withdrawal from the school and amassed an arsenal of weapons as part of "a detailed and complex" plan to commit mass murder, prosecutors charge in court filings.

While noting the defense's argument that motive is not a required element to prove guilt, Arapahoe County District Court Judge William Sylvester ruled that the documents could reveal Holmes' state of mind leading up to the rampage.

"Intent will be a key issue at trial, and it is likely that facts relevant to prove motive will tend to make the issue of intent more or less probable," Sylvester wrote.

He also ordered that any files kept by the university's campus police on Holmes should be turned over to the government.

Defense lawyers have said in court that Holmes suffers from an unspecified mental illness. Legal analysts see this as an attempt to set up a not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity defense.

Holmes has yet to enter a plea, and prosecutors have not indicated whether they will seek the death penalty.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Mohammad Zargham)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
Great, Authorities can view this guys college records but Obama’s college records are “unavailable” and will be kept sealed! Hmmmmmmm

Oct 17, 2012 8:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Harry079 wrote:
Oh, they like to get you in a compromising position
They like to get you there and smile in your face
Well, they think they’re so cute when they got you in that condition
Well I think it’s a total disgrace
And I said:

I fight authority, Authority always wins
Well, I fight authority, Authority always wins
Well, I’ve been doing it since I was a young kid
I come out grinnin’
Well, I fight authority, Authority always wins

So I call up my preacher
I say, “Give me strength for Round 5.”
He said , “You don’t need no strength, you need to grow up son.”
I said, “Growing up leads to growing old and then to dying”
“OO and dying to me don’t sound like all that much fun.”

Oct 17, 2012 9:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.