Centennial, Colorado (AFP) – The man suspected of gunning down 12 people at a screening of the new Batman movie last month is mentally ill, his defense lawyer said Thursday, seeking more time to assess his health.
James Holmes faces two counts of first degree murder for each person killed in the July 20 massacre in Aurora, Colorado — one for each victim’s deliberate killing and one more for killing through “depraved indifference” to life.
But at a court hearing in Centennial, near Denver, defense attorney Dan King chastised prosecutors for not turning over all the reports, photos from the crime scene and other evidence.
“We cannot begin to assess Mr Holmes’s mental illness until we have all of that information,” said King, who referred to his client’s mental illness two other times.
Holmes, 24, until recently a neuroscience student, allegedly burst into a midnight viewing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire.
Ten of the 58 people who were wounded in the attack remain hospitalized and four are in a critical condition, leaving open the possibility that the huge charge sheet could yet grow longer.
At Thursday’s hearing attorneys discussed the merits of revising the judge’s order barring public access to court records, following media requests.
Prosecutors argued that sealing the court documents protects the integrity of the ongoing investigation — which so far has generated 2,677 pages of evidence — and defense lawyer King said continuing to suppress access to the records protects his client’s right to a fair trial, but no decision was made.
Judicial District Court Chief Judge William Sylvester did not indicate when he will rule on the media request but he set the next scheduled court hearing for August 16.