Lifestyle & Belief

Accused 'Batman' killer James Holmes was being treated by university psychiatrist, lawyers say


James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 59 others during his shooting rampage.


RJ Sangosti-Pool

James Homes, the University of Colorado graduate student accused in the Aurora cinema shooting, was reportedly being treated by a psychiatrist who was part of the university's campus threat-assessment team.

According to the Associated Press, the disclosure came in court documents filed on Friday by attorneys for Holmes, 24, who is accused of killing 12 people during a packed showing of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," last Friday.

Of the 58 wounded in the attack, 11 remain in hospital, five of them in critical condition. 

Holmes' lawyers were seeking to discover the source of leaks to media outlets that Holmes, a neuroscience PhD dropout, had sent the psychiatrist — who specialized in schizophrenia cases — a package containing a notebook with descriptions of an attack.

They say the package contained confidential communication between Holmes and Dr Lynne Fenton that should be shielded from public view.

According to the BBC, the notebook — delivered and investigated on July 23, university officials said — described a massacre.

The leak violated a court order and put a fair trial in "serious jeopardy," the lawyers claimed.

"Mr. Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected," the filing said, according to Reuters.

Reuters cited the school's website as saying Fenton, medical director for student mental health services, provides medication and psychotherapy for grad students, according to a school website.

The news service also cited a professional biography of Fenton as saying she had conducted research on schizophrenia, including with the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2008 to 2010.

The "behavioral assessment and threat assessment team" of the university helps faculty and staff deal with "individuals who may be threatening, disruptive or otherwise problematic," according to the website.

The court said it would consider the defense team's request when Holmes is formally charged on Monday.

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