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Colorado theater shooting suspect in court again

1:07 PM, Aug 23, 2012   |    comments
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DENVER -- The suspect in last month's Colorado theater shooting that left 12 dead was expected to be in court again Thursday as prosecutors seek to show that he is sane.

Prosecutors are seeking non-medical education records turned over last week to Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester. Defense attorneys have asked that nobody, even Sylvester, examine them.

James Holmes, a former neuroscience doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado, is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in the July 20 shooting.

Prosecutors have said they need the documents to gain access to a notebook reportedly containing violent descriptions of an attack. The notebook reportedly was in a package sent to university psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.

Defense attorney Daniel King has said the notebook is protected by a doctor-patient relationship. King claims that Holmes is mentally ill and sought Fenton for help.

Fenton is expected to testify at a hearing Aug. 30.

Former Denver Deputy District Attorney and law professor Karen Steinhauser said arguments over the records are part of preparations for a trial over Holmes' sanity.

"They know it's not a question of who did this," Steinhauser said. "This is not a question of self-defense. They know that the only possible defense is that he was not sane at the time."

School records don't have the same legal protection as communication between a doctor and patient. But Steinhauser said prosecutors would have to tell a judge why they want them.

The university records could contain his school application, recommendation letters, emails between professors about their impressions of Holmes, as well his grades and progress reports on his research.

Associated Press

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