Aurora theater shooting: Reference to James Holmes being psychiatric patient censored
On Friday, we shared with you recently filed court documents in the Aurora theater shooting. Among their revelations: Accused killer James Holmes was under psychiatric care prior to the assault.
Now, however, that same document, which remains uncensored in our post, and in this one, has been altered on the 18th Judicial District website to remove the reference to Holmes's patient status.
An Associated Press story shared on 9News brought this strange twist to our attention. The original document, filed by Holmes's defense team, revealed that the suspect had sent a package to Dr. Lynne Fenton, director of student mental health services at Anschutz Medical Campus. It then went on to say that Holmes "was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected by C.R.S. § 13-90-107(1)(d),(g)" -- a statute that outlines in detail what's commonly known as doctor-patient privilege.
In the version currently available, this passage is blacked out, as you can see below.
No reason for this change has been reported thus far -- but there are at least a couple of likely possibilities. 18th District Judge William Sylvester has issued a gag order in the case, and in retrospect, court personnel may think divulging that Holmes was seeing a psychiatrist prior to the attack that killed twelve people and injured dozens more at the Aurora Century 16 violates this edict. In addition, district attorney Carol Chambers and her team of prosecutors reject the theory that the contents of the package -- reportedly a notebook featuring attack drawings and plans -- are protected under doctor-patient privilege and could have raised objections to the passage.
Whatever the case, deleting this information after the fact is an entirely futile gesture. The link between Holmes and Fenton, whose 2005 admonishment by a state medical board has been blown out of proportion, is widely known at this point, and pretending otherwise is simply obtuse.
Granted, the speed at which documents are being released in this case invites oversights and subsequent regrets. Note that in a request to seal all University of Colorado records related to Holmes, Chambers's office actually misspelled her name.
Here's the newly censored document, followed by the original one.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.