Public defenders said at a pre-trial hearing in the case that an
FBI agent and a police detective had questioned Holmes after his
lawyer had told police not to speak to him, which they said violated
his due process rights. Those statements should not be allowed at
trial, defense lawyers said.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour agreed with
prosecutors, who said that a public safety exception allowed
authorities to question Holmes over his lawyer's objections.
The judge noted in his 126-page ruling that police and bomb
technicians had few options other than detonating the various
homemade bombs, which could have caused an uncontrollable explosion
and fire to the entire building, or put officers at risk had they
gone into the unit.
"Under the exceptional circumstances present in this case, the
officers' questions about the devices in the apartment were
justified by an objectively reasonable need to protect the public
and first responders," Samour wrote.
Holmes, 26, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder
and attempted murder for the July 2012 shooting rampage inside a
suburban Denver cinema that killed 12 movie-goers and wounded or
injured 70 others.
The former neuroscience graduate student has pleaded not guilty by
reason of insanity, and prosecutors will seek the death penalty for
Holmes if he is convicted.
Holmes's lawyers have challenged nearly
all of the evidence amassed against their client, who underwent a
court-ordered sanity examination last summer. The results of that
evaluation have not been made public.
[to top of second column]
Samour said in his ruling that Holmes voluntarily told officers
about how he rigged the explosives, which helped them defuse the
The officers did not coerce, threaten or intimidate Holmes, who
understood what the officers were after and appeared "relaxed"
during the interview, Samour said.
However, Samour ruled that some statements Holmes made unrelated to
the explosives issue could not be used against him. It is unclear
what that those exchanges related to because they were redacted in
Samour has postponed the murder trial indefinitely as he considers
whether to allow a second sanity examination of Holmes that
prosecutors are seeking. Hearings on the issue are set for later
this month, and Samour has closed the proceedings to the media and
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Ken Wills)
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