^
Keep Westword Free
4

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.

Censored James Holmes Court Filing
James Holmes Motion Pertaining to Improper Disclosure of Privileged Material

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Lynne Fenton, James Holmes's doctor: Her ex-husband on minor discipline made to look major."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.