Judge keeps gag order in Aurora theater shooting case
DENVER – The judge in the deadly Colorado theater shooting case refused Monday to lift a gag order that prevents the University of Colorado from releasing information about former graduate student and suspect James Holmes.
Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester also ruled that he would release some court documents in the case.
James Holmes, a former Ph.D. student at the university, is accused of going on a shooting rampage on July 20 at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie in suburban Denver, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.
Members of the public will have access to a list of documents filed, as well as some submitted by attorneys. Some key documents, including the arrest affidavit that outlines law enforcement’s case against Holmes, will remain sealed.
Sylvester said releasing that information would harm the fairness at trial and be contrary to public interest.
In his order on the University of Colorado, he said, he “will not jeopardize the integrity of the process and the truth-seeking functions” of the courts by authorizing the premature release of records.
Last week, his lawyers said he suffers from a mental illness but didn’t disclose any details about his condition.
Defense attorney Daniel King said Holmes sought out university psychiatrist Lynne Fenton for help weeks before the shooting. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to establish they had a doctor-patient relationship.
Sylvester said he may reconsider his order about what information the university can release after that issue is settled.
Police said Holmes methodically stockpiled guns, ammunition and material for explosives for months and that he had received shipments at both the university and his nearby apartment.