Aurora Theater Shooting

James Holmes hearing postponed after alleged killer's repeated head banging, report says

Update by Michael Roberts: At a hearing yesterday, Judge William Sylvester, who's overseeing the prosecution of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes agreed to postpone a hearing slated for this morning due to his "condition;" see our original coverage below. Now, reports have surfaced that the alleged killer tried to harm himself on three occasions, by inflicting damage to his head.

Citing unnamed sources, 9News reports that Holmes tried to harm himself on three separate occasions on Tuesday while in his cell -- and each effort seems to have had a head injury as its goal.

In the first incident, Holmes is said to have stood on his bed, then fallen backwards in an apparent attempt to bang his head. The second time around, he reportedly ran from one side of his cell to the other in order to thump his head against a wall. And sources tell the station he simply hit his head against the wall on attempt number three.

These assorted efforts didn't result in wounds that would have been visible to those attending this morning's hearing had it been held as scheduled, 9News maintains. But while sources cited by the outlet describe Holmes's actions as "not aggressive," that description is certainly up for debate. Expect the staff at the Arapahoe County jail where he's being held to keep an even closer eye on Holmes than they do already do -- especially as the newly scheduled December 10 make-up hearing nears.

Look below to see the 9News report, followed by Melanie Asmar's previous coverage.

Continue for our original coverage below. Update, 4:48 p.m. November 14, by Melanie Asmar: At a hearing this afternoon, attorneys for James Holmes said the Aurora theater shooting suspect went to the hospital yesterday, according to Rob McCallum, a spokesman for the Colorado courts. They didn't provide any details, McCallum says. As such, the judge in the case decided to postpone a hearing scheduled for tomorrow until December. Holmes's attorneys had asked for the delay, citing his "condition." Read more below.

Original item, 3:12 p.m.: James Holmes's attorneys have asked to continue a court hearing scheduled for tomorrow because "as a result of developments over the past 24 hours, Mr. Holmes is in a condition that renders him unable to be present in court." They do not elaborate on his "condition," and prosecutors are arguing that Holmes's attorneys can't keep it a secret. The judge has scheduled a hearing on whether to postpone for 4:15 p.m.

In a motion on view below, attorneys for the accused theater shooter offered to provide "a limited amount of additional information" to the judge in chambers "immediately."

Prosecutors countered by asking for a hearing on the matter. "If the defendant wants this court to take action on his claim of a 'condition,'" they wrote in a motion also seen here, "he must make the court and the opposing party aware of what this 'condition' is in order for the court to be able to take action. The defendant cannot do this in secret, without the opposing party having the ability to participate and object."

Tomorrow's hearing was supposed to take place at 9 a.m. The sides were scheduled to address a handful of outstanding subjects, possibly including a defense motion requesting sanctions against "the government" for "leaking privileged and confidential information to the media about the contents of a package" that Holmes sent to Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist he'd seen when he was a student at the University of Colorado.

Read the motions below.

Emergency Motion to Continue November 15 2012 Hearing.pdf

Response to Defense Motion To Continue Hearing

More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Joker mask causes freak out at Boulder movie theater, teen facing charges."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar