Attorneys for James Holmes seek records from mysterious witness both sides seek to protect

Holmes attorney wants records of mystery witness

AURORA, Colo. - Attorneys in the theater shooting case are seeking records from the University of Colorado related to a mysterious but important witness that both sides also want to protect.

Two subpoenas seeking the records were filed with the court on Aug. 12, but not published to the case library until Monday. They order records from the University of Colorado and CU Anschutz Medical Campus to be delivered to the court on Aug. 25 at 9 a.m.

In one of the related documents, the witness is quoted as having written: "One issue I have is that some of my evidence will help the defense."

Defense attorneys also wrote that they believe the records they are seeking will be favorable to their case. They are defending James Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the shooting. The state is seeking the death penalty.

The document indicates that an unidentified witness is an endorsed witness for the prosecution. The person's full name and title extends for nearly two lines of the document, but is blacked out. 

The document also says the person was repeatedly interviewed after the July 20, 2012 shooting and says that the person's iPhone was examined by the investigation and that "he believed the University has secreted his (word redacted) records because of his connection to this case…"

Subsequent paragraphs are difficult to read because of a cascade of redactions, but they detail a series of interactions between Aurora police, the FBI and the unidentified person.  It also quotes heavily redacted emails addressed to a friend.

Prosecutors filed a reply stating they were concerned about the witness' privacy, safety and willingness to cooperate if the motion and subpoena were released to the public.

They asserted that "this particular witness's name is not 'out in the media,' and this witness is 'an unknown quantity' to the public.' (sic)"

The defense wanted the entire sequence of documents to be kept under seal and even asked the judge to reconsider after he ordered a copy to be released with very specific redactions. District Court Judge Carlos Samour wrote that his edited copies do not identify the witness, his relation to the University, or even the nature of the records sought. He also ordered that attorneys should not disclose that information in court on Aug. 25.

Print this article Back to Top