Defense Reveals Aurora Shooting Suspect Called Psychiatrist Minutes Before Attack

Aurora Shooting Suspect

Just nine minutes before he went into a movie theater and went on a shooting spree that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded in July, the suspect in the Colorado shooting tried unsuccessfully to call his university psychiatrist attorneys, revealed in court Thursday.

Defense attorney revealed that James Holmes placed a call to an after-hours number at a hospital at the University of Colorado, Anschutz campus, where he could reach psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.

No one knows Holmes’ intent for the phone call, but Fenton was not immediately available to talk to him at the time of the call. The detail about the call came out during a hearing about Holmes’ relationship with Fenton, to whom he mailed a package containing a notebook that reportedly contained violent descriptions of an attack.

Defense attorneys are blocking prosecutors from reviewing the notebook as part of their evidence, stating the journal is protected by doctor-patient privacy laws and is inadmissible. Brady brought up the phone call in an effort to show that Holmes and Fenton had an ongoing doctor-patient relationship. “Do you know that Mr. Holmes called that number 9 minutes before the shooting started?” Brady asked Fenton. Fenton responded, “I did not.”

When asked if Holmes had her office phone number and whether she could be reached that way, Fenton said yes to both questions. Fenton also testified that she only met Holmes once on June 11, and that she believed their privileged relationship was limited to that day. When asked if she had a doctor-patient relationship with Holmes on the day he mailed her the package, Fenton said, “I believe I did not.”

Defense attorneys presented the judge a “client summary” that Fenton filled out after her meeting with Holmes. The attorneys are arguing the document established an ongoing, confidential relationship between she and Holmes.

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