Sheriff disputes inmate's claim about contacts with Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes

James Holmes facing murder charges

AURORA, Colo. - Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson disputes an inmate's claims that he had extensive contacts with Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes.

Steven Unruh, 38, was in the Arapahoe County jail in July facing theft and drug charges when Holmes was arrested. On Oct. 23, Unruh told CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta that he talked with Holmes and the suspected shooter revealed important details about the shooting to Unruh.

Robinson told Marchetta there is no way that Unruh had contact with Holmes, and Unruh concedes he  is looking to provide information to prosecutors to help him reduce a possible prison sentence in his pending criminal cases. The CALL 7 Investigators have learned that prosecutors interviewed Unruh.

7News did not air a story in October because we could not independently verify Unruh's claims. Since then other news outlets have reported Unruh's allegations, so CALL7 Investigators have decided to report the information we obtained.

Robinson said it was impossible for Unruh and Holmes to communicate because the two were never in the same place at the same time.

Marchetta toured the jail holding areas last month where deputies said Holmes was being held, finding she could not communicate with a 7News staffer in an adjacent cell.

Marchetta confronted Unruh about what she found and Unruh claimed he and Holmes talked through a perforated ceiling. Unruh's family members previously told Marchetta  Unruh talked to Holmes through the jail's plumbing. When Marchetta asked Unruh which was it, Unruh evaded the question.

"In the jail, we do have our ways of communicating," said Unruh. "I have information I got through other ways, but I don't want to get a write up and get in trouble here."

Some of Unruh's claims are intriguing. He told Marchetta that Holmes was banging his head against the cell, trying to commit suicide, weeks before Holmes missed a court date because of injuries from banging his head.

Unruh also had a sheriff's "Mail Rejection Form" that prisoners are given when their mail is withheld. The form says Holmes sent a letter to Unruh and it was held by authorities because the mail contained threats of personal harm, threats or other activity that is inappropriate.

The document does appear to be altered, but it is unclear what the original sheriff's document showed.

Other claims Unruh made are impossible to verify and some are difficult to believe.

Unruh claims Holmes told him he went to the theater on the night of the shooting to meet someone who had called the cops on him and that he was planning to stage an incident without going through with the shooting.

"He wasn’t planning on hurting nobody," Unruh alleged. "He wanted someone to stop him and nobody did."

Unruh claims Holmes was undergoing neuro-linguistic programming, a controversial form of therapy that centers on behavioral and language modifications.

None of that information could be independently verified.

In October, Unruh called KHOW radio during a broadcast. In the last week, Westword magazine, the National Enquirer, Huffington Post and other news sources have published stories about Unruh's allegations.

Holmes is accused of opening fire in an Aurora movie theater on July 20 killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 others during a midnight screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.'

Print this article Back to Top