Prosecutors drop fight for notebook from accused Colorado shooter James Holmes
Friday 21 September 2012
Prosecutors dropped their legal fight yesterday for access to a notebook that accused Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes sent to a university psychiatrist before the shooting, saying legal wrangling over it would delay the case for months.
Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student, is accused of opening fire on July 20 at a midnight screening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, a Denver suburb. Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded in the attack.
"There's a high degree of likelihood that whatever privilege exists in the notebook will end up being waived by the defendant" should Holmes' lawyers pursue an insanity defence, prosecutor Rich Orman said during a hearing on the issue.
Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester also approved 10 new felony charges of attempted first degree murder filed by prosecutors against Holmes, 24, and allowed 17 current charges to be amended.
But Sylvester has ordered nearly all court filings in the case sealed, and the exact changes were not immediately clear as the documents outlining them were redacted.
A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office declined to clarify the new and amended charges, citing a gag order. A spokesman for the court also declined to comment.
Holmes already faced 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder. Under Colorado law, the doubling of charges allows prosecutors two potential pathways to secure a conviction.
Orman said at a hearing last month that Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight screening, then left the cinema through an exit door he propped open on his way out. Holmes then put on a gas mask and ballistic protective gear before returning to the cinema and spraying the crowd with gunfire, Orman said.
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