Monday, August 27, 2012

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes threatened to 'kill people" FOUR MONTHS before massacre

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes threatened to 'kill people once his life was over' FOUR MONTHS before massacre

by Daily Mail Reporter,
August 24th 2012

Accused Colorado gunman James Holmes may have begun planning the movie theater massacre four months before he allegedly carried out the shooting that left 12 people dead.

In March, he had a conversation with a classmate at the University of Colorado-Denver about 'wanting to kill people... and that he would do so when his life was over,' according court documents filed by prosecutors.

The student was not identified and the threats were not reported to police.

Two months later, Holmes, who had been a neuroscience graduate student, failed his final exam and his professors were working to keep him out of their labs. His academic star had fallen.

The alleged conversation occurred at the same time that police said Holmes began receiving "a high volume of deliveries" at his home and at the university. Police haven't said what those packages contained, but they said he ordered thousands of rounds of ammunition on the Internet.

Prosecutors made the allegation in a motion released Friday seeking access to Holmes' records from the University of Colorado Denver's neuroscience graduate program.

It is the earliest report of a possible threat from Holmes, who was an enigma to many before authorities said he opened fire on a midnight showing of 'The Dark Knight Rises' on July 20. Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded.

Police were first alerted to Holmes behavior six weeks before the shootings when he made unspecified threats to a professor six weeks before the shootings-- around the time he failed his year-end final exam.

Holmes was 'making threats and those threats were reported to police,' prosecutor Karen Pearson said during a hearing on whether prosecutors can have access to his university records.

Pearson did not elaborate on the nature of the threats.

Pearson portrayed Holmes as a young man whose academic career at the University of Colorado was in tatters, saying he had failed oral board exams in early June and one of his professors had suggested he may not have been a good fit for the competitive program.

Subsequently, Holmes started making threats that were reported to police and he was denied access to the University of Colorado campus prior to the July 20 shooting, Pearson said.

'The prosecution was very aggressive today. They are obviously building a case based on revenge,' said Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor now in private practice who has been following the case.

'Motive is not required but jurors will want to look for a reason why this guy did it, which will go against an insanity defense,' Silverman said.

Holmes' attorney said during a previous court hearing that he suffers from an unspecified mental illness and had tried to get help, and local media have reported he saw at least three mental health professionals before the shooting.

Defense attorney Daniel King said he opposed giving prosecutors access to Holmes' university records, accusing them of going on a fishing expedition.

Holmes, who appeared in court for the hearing clad in a red jumpsuit with his dyed red hair fading to orange and pink, seemed alert but calm and had the beginnings of a beard.

Authorities say that after his arrest Holmes referred to himself as the Joker, in reference to Batman's comic-book nemesis.

Court papers filed by defense attorneys in July said Holmes had been a patient of the medical director for student mental health services on campus, Dr. Lynne Fenton, before he filed paperwork to drop out of the neuroscience graduate program.

As in many states, mental health care providers in Colorado must warn authorities of potential violent behavior only when a patient has communicated a serious threat of imminent physical violence against a specific target.

Previous media reports have said Fenton reported her concerns about Holmes to a campus threat assessment team and a campus police officer.

Holmes is being held without bond in solitary confinement at the Arapahoe County jail. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will seek the death penalty.

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