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Suspect in Colorado shootings smiles in court

2:33 PM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The suspect in the U.S. theater rampage that killed 12 in one of the worst mass shootings in the country's history smiled and glanced around the courtroom Thursday, a marked difference from his dazed, silent appearances in the past. The bright orange hair was gone and was now short and brown.

Prosecutors gave up their efforts to get access to a notebook by the suspect, James Holmes, that they think details a violent attack.

Holmes has been charged with 142 counts, including murder and attempted murder, in the June 20 attack at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie. Fifth-eight people were wounded in the shooting as the gunman roamed the darkened theater.

Defense attorneys have said Holmes is mentally ill.

Prosecutors had wanted access to the notebook sent by Holmes to a university psychiatrist that purportedly contains descriptions of a violent attack. But a judge on Aug. 30 ruled that they could not disprove a doctor-patient relationship between Holmes and University of Colorado psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.

Prosecutors had argued that the notebook is fair game because Holmes wasn't going to be undergoing therapy because he planned to be dead or in prison after the rampage.

But on Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman told the judge that prosecutors didn't want to delay proceedings for Holmes.

If mental health becomes an issue, Orman said, Holmes would have to waive any doctor-patient privilege and prosecutors would gain access to the notebook.

Holmes was a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado. Prosecutors said Holmes did poorly on a key exam and withdrew on June 10 while he was stockpiling guns, ammunition and body armor ahead of the shooting. His apartment was found booby-trapped after the shooting.

Associated Press

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