Reporter who wrote about James Holmes' notebook subpoenaed by accused shooters' defense

Notebook sent to CU professor prior to shooting

DENVER - The Fox News investigative reporter who wrote about the contents of James Holmes' notebook has been subpoenaed by the accused theater shooter's defense.

Jana Winter's July 25 article on FoxNews.com stated that former CU student James Holmes had sent a notebook full of details about how he was going to kill people to a University of Colorado psychiatrist before the mass shooting at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora on July 20.

The notebook was mailed to the professor, arriving July 23, and sat unopened in a mail room for as long as a week before it was found, the Fox News report stated.

At the time, a spokeswoman for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus denied the Fox News report, saying it was inaccurate. 

Executive Vice President and Executive Editor of Fox News, John Moody, responded to the CU statement a day later:

"We respect the University's position but are confident that our law enforcement source, who we will not name because of a prior agreement, was in a position to know the timing of the package's whereabouts. We believe those details will be part of the evidence, which will be presented at an eventual trial."

A gag order had been issued in the case two days before the Fox report was published, limiting pre-trial publicity.  Defense lawyers requested and received a gag order on the morning of July 25, specifically targeting the notebook.  Winter's article was published 30 to 45 minutes later.

Winters' article quoted two "law enforcement sources" in reporting Holmes' notebook was "full of details about how he was going to kill people" and "drawings and illustrations of the massacre."  The statement from the Fox News executive mentioned only one source, however.

Holmes is accused of opening fire in a crowded movie theater on July 20, about 18 minutes into the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people were killed, 58 were wounded in the shooting. Twelve others were injured escaping the theater.

During the attack, Holmes allegedly tossed a gas canister into a crowded theater then fired a 12-gauge shotgun at the crowd. As panicked moviegoers ran for the exits, he allegedly switched to a 223 Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic with 100-shot-capacity drum clip. According to testimony at Holmes' preliminary hearing, the rifle jammed.

Afterward, some shots were fired from a .40 Glock pistol with laser sight.

Holmes is also accused of booby-trapping his apartment with explosives and leaving loud music playing in an attempt to cause a distraction that would have drawn the attention of first responders.

After a three-day preliminary hearing in early January, Judge William Sylvester found probable cause to send Holmes' case forward on 166 counts. The defense is expected to enter a plea for Holmes in March.

On Dec. 10, a hearing was held in which affidavits were introduced from University of Colorado police officers and lay witnesses that had contact with the package containing the notebook.  Each of the witnesses attested that they had no knowledge of the contents of the notebook and had not discussed the package with the media.  Remaining witnesses revealed they had no contact with the notebook or had partially viewed the notebook but provided no information about it to the media.

At the end of that hearing, the defense team said they planned to subpoena Winter.

Judge William B. Sylvester's order found that Winter is a material witness in the case and it approved three days in travel and testimony by the reporter.  No date has been set for her testimony.

Holmes' defense team said it would pay round trip airfare, transportation, lodging and board in Colorado, if Winter were compelled to travel from New York to testify about who gave her information on the notebook.