Daily Dispatches
Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes.
Associated Press/Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post, Pool
Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes.

Holmes’ defense hopes to dismiss bomb evidence

Crime

Hours after his shooting rampage at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater killed 12 people and injured 70, James Holmes sat in a police interrogation room answering detectives’ questions. Meanwhile, officers tried to disarm the complex booby trap Holmes had left at his apartment, according to The Denver Post. A tug on fishing line tied to Holmes’ front door knob would mix a concoction of chemicals and set the entire apartment complex on fire.

In a series of pre-trial hearings this week, Holmes’ attorneys claimed law enforcement violated Holmes’ constitutional rights by questioning him after he had asked for an attorney. They want Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. to throw out statements Holmes made about the bombs in his apartment.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the 160 charges stemming from the July 20, 2012 shooting during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. His trial is scheduled to start in February and is expected to last several months. Prosecutors have pointed to Holmes’ elaborate booby trap as proof he was not insane when he planned and carried out the shooting. They plan to seek the death penalty.

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Holmes’ attorney said police made him wait 13 hours before allowing him to speak with a lawyer. During that time they questioned him about the apartment bombs. Prosecutors say the questioning was justified since the bombs threatened other lives. Aurora Police Lt. Thomas G. Wilkes, commander of the team that sealed off Holmes’ apartment, said the bombs were so dangerous that officials considered detonating them—which they knew would destroy the building and threaten others—rather than risk the lives of bomb squad members by trying to dismantle them. Police eventually disarmed the bombs without a detonation.

Attorneys for both sides have sparred over what evidence will be admissible during the trial. Hearings earlier this week focused on Holmes’ mental health records. While a Ph.D. student in the University of Colorado Denver’s neuroscience program, Holmes was treated by a school psychiatrist and underwent a mental health evaluation at another hospital in Colorado. The judge in the case has barred attorneys for both sides from releasing any information found in Holmes’ medical records without his permission and has only given prosecutors permission to see mental health records.

An investigator said Thursday in court that at one point Holmes searched for the term “rational insanity” via Bing. Prosecutors also said prior to the shooting, Holmes posted in two separate dating website forums, “Will you visit me in prison?”

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

Michael Reneau
Michael Reneau

Michael Reneau is the assistant managing editor of a newspaper in East Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and two sons. He is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute's mid-career course. Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelReneau.

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