Decision on James Holmes' notebook report delayed
Last Updated: 242 days ago
CENTENNIAL, Colo. - No decision was made Wednesday in the case of a Fox News reporter who wrote a story, citing sources, that Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes mailed a notebook to his CU psychiatrist that reportedly contained drawings and notes about a massacre.
Jana Winter was not called to the stand but Aurora Police Detective Alton Reed did testify, saying he was called to the CU Medical campus on the Lowry campus after a package from Holmes was discovered in the mail room days after the Aurora theater shooting.
He said he "thumbed through" the notebook after the bomb squad determined the package was not dangerous.
Asked if he told anyone what he saw in it, he first said, "No ma'am," but then added I would assume I probably told Sergeant (Matthew) Fyles."
Fyles is one of the sergeants of the Major Crimes and Homicide unit with the Aurora Police Department. Reed also works for that unit.
In his testimony Wednesday, Reed also said a bomb squad deputy may have radioed information about the contents of the package back to the command post or may have reported its contents in person, "I'm not sure."
If the bomb squad deputy radioed the information about the notebook over the police radio, it would greatly expand the pool of people who might have knowledge of what it contained.
Reed was also asked if the notebook was discussed with his department during a briefing, or detailed in his reports.
He replied that the only discussion about the notebook covered the fact that it existed, but not the contents inside.
About the report he said, "I wrote the report, but I didn't include what I saw inside (the notebook) in my report."
Sgt. Fyles was also asked about the briefing and provided similar information.
In fact, Fyles testified that his knowledge of the notebook came from Detective Reed.
"I was advised it contained pages, an unknown number of pages, with unknown writing," he said.
However, Winter's lawyer quoted the affidavit Fyles wrote about the package and notebook.
"Your affiant believes that information contained in this white in color, approximately 12" x16", soft-sided envelope may assist in determining what methods of planning were involved to carry out this crime," the affidavit said.
In the article in question, Winter wrote what a source allegedly told her about the notebook.
"Inside the package was a notebook full of details about how he was going to kill people," Winter quoted one source law enforcement source as having said. "There were drawings of what he was going to do in it -- drawing and illustrations of the massacre."
Winter also wrote that a second law enforcement source revealed authorities got a warrant for the package Monday night.
While an affidavit revealed the notebook was labeled with Holmes' name and the course title "of life," the contents of the notebook have never been confirmed in testimony or official documents.
Papers have showed the package also contained burnt $20 bills and a sticky note with an infinity design.
The judge conducting the hearing will not rule on whether Winter will have to testify on who her sources are until the admissibility of the notebook is determined. As something mailed to his psychiatrist, the notebook could be covered by doctor-patient confidentiality.
He will also have to decide if the defense adequately showed that the only way to find the sources of the leak, and therefore the violators of the gag order, is to force Winter to testify.
Based on released documents and testimony at the preliminary hearing, one other piece of information in the article may be partially incorrect. The article's description of the booby-trap inside Holmes' apartment doesn't fit with testimony.
"Fox News has learned that the door was wired with a booby-trap and a backup system that would have triggered an explosive designed to 'cut in half' the first person through the door," the article said.
In particular, the idea that it would cut someone in half is inconsistent with testimony during the preliminary hearing from an FBI special agent and bomb technician. The source of that quotation was never made clear in the article.
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