James Holmes threatened professor, said he wanted to "kill people," DA says
James Holmes "had conversations with a classmate about wanting to kill people in March 2012" and "made threats to a professor" at the University of Colorado according to a motion written by prosecutors (and on view below). The motion, which was made public today, says "evidence gathered so far" includes that Holmes "failed his graduate school oral boards" in June and was "denied access to the school" after making the aforementioned threats.
The motion echoes what Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson said at a court hearing yesterday. However, a spokeswoman for CU-Denver, where Holmes was studying neuroscience, told Westword that he was not banned from campus. Instead, he was denied access to portions of it because he was in the process of withdrawing from the neuroscience program.
Holmes in a screen capture from his initial hearing -- the only one thus far at which photographs were allowed.
The motion was filed on August 14 in response to a motion from Holmes's defense attorneys to quash a subpoena for Holmes's educational records. Prosecutors sought to subpoena Holmes's grad school application, "all class schedules and transcripts of grades" and "all oral board examination documents and testing materials generated and utilized by CU staff relating to James Holmes." In their motion to quash (also on view below), Holmes's public defenders wrote, "The prosecution is seeking these materials as a mere fishing expedition and not for any proper purpose."
Prosecutors countered with a listing of "evidence." Here's the quote from the motion:
Evidence gathered so far indicates: (1) the defendant had conversations with a classmate about wanting to kill people in March 2012 and that he would do so when his life was over; (2) that he failed his graduate school oral boards at the University of Colorado in June 2012; (3) that he was denied access to the school after June 12, 2012, after he made threats to a professor at the school; (4) that he subsequently started the process to voluntarily withdraw from his graduate studies programs and was in the process of completing that withdrawal at the time that the offense occurred; (5) that after he was denied access to the CU-Denver Anschutz campus, he began a detailed and complex plan to obtain firearms, ammunition, a tear-gas grenade, body armor, a gas mask and a ballistic helmet, which were used in the commission of the murders and the attempted murders.
"The defendant's educational records are relevant to the investigation of these crimes, his planning and motive," prosecutors wrote. Yesterday in court, however, Holmes defense attorney Daniel King said his client's motive is "irrelevant."
Judge William Sylvester has not ruled on whether prosecutors can access the subpoenaed information. Last Thursday, the university gave the court an envelope of "approximately 100 pages of non-medical educational records," according to a summary of that hearing.
Holmes is charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder, among other counts, in connection with the July 20 Aurora theater shooting that left twelve people dead and 58 wounded. At a court hearing on August 9, defense attorney King referred to Holmes as mentally ill and said he'd been seeking help from a psychiatrist.
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