Court delays second sanity exam for Aurora movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Referencing three documents that will be kept secret, the judge overseeing the Aurora movie theater shooting case has delayed the defendant's next sanity examination.

District Court Judge Carlos Samour wrote in an order dated Tuesday that his decision came in response to three motions filed by the defense. Although those motions did not include a request for the delay, Samour wrote that he ordered it because he anticipated the defense would include it.

The three motions filed by defendant James Holmes' lawyers will remain confidential, but are summarized in another document posted Tuesday. The first motion asks the court to reconsider several findings and rulings in the order that required the second sanity examination. The second aims to "strike or amend" the new examination. The third asks the court to clarify part of the order and renews a request that the court allow attorneys to be present during the examination.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others when he opened fire in a crowded movie theater on July 20, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and already underwent one sanity examination at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.

Prosecutors requested the second evaluation, alleging the first evaluation was conducted by a psychiatrist who had an "unfair bias."

The doctor assigned to complete the second sanity evaluation was identified in a letter sent to the court last week. The letter was not released as a public document and doctor's identity was redacted from other paperwork.

In another case document released Tuesday, Holmes' attorneys requested more input in the court's decisions about what information would be released to the public about the case. In that request, the defense criticized Samour's decisions to publish un-redacted comments about the doctor who performed the first sanity examination and other experts involved in the case.

The defense wrote that the judge's decisions "have deprived Mr. Holmes of his state and federal constitutional rights to due process."

Samour denied the request.

Print this article Back to Top