of Colorado fights turning over records in theater massacre case
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[August 22, 2014]
By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - The University of
Colorado is fighting attempts by lawyers defending accused cinema gunman
James Holmes to turn over records that public defenders say the school
was trying to hide about its former student, court documents show.
Lawyers for the 26-year-old California native sought earlier this
week to have emails and other records released to them from an
unnamed prosecution witness with connections to the school.
The university objected on Wednesday, while prosecutors and the
unidentified witness likewise filed motions seeking to have the
subpoenas quashed, calling the issue "a fishing expedition."
Holmes was a doctoral candidate in the neuroscience program at the
university's Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.
He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for opening fire in
July 2012 inside an Aurora theater during a midnight screening of
the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises."
The rampage killed 12 moviegoers and injured dozens more, and
prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for Holmes if
he is convicted.
Holmes' lawyers have acknowledged he was the lone gunman, but that
he was undergoing a psychotic episode at the time.
The defense motion filed this week, and all the responses to it, are
heavily redacted, making it hard to identify the witness or
establish their relationship to the university or to Holmes.
Holmes' lawyers said they had come to the conclusion that the
witness believes the records contain information that "university
officials have an interest in hiding."
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They have asked Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour
to review the records in private to decide if they should be turned
The information in question includes cellphone records and emails
the witness sent to a friend discussing his interactions with law
enforcement officials after the shootings.
"One issue I have is that some of my evidence will help the
defense," the defense motion said, quoting one of the emails.
Prosecutors counter that Holmes' lawyers have already interviewed
the witness and could have asked him about any "alleged
The trial is set to begin with jury selection in December.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa
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