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Prosecution drops pursuit of Holmes’ notebook, says it was delaying trial

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James Holmes. Photo released by Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Sep. 20, 2012

James Holmes. Photo released by Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Sep. 20, 2012

AURORA, Colo. — An argument that was expected to play out over an entire day in a county court — and perhaps for months in a state court — was dropped in a matter of minutes by prosecutors in the murder trail of suspected Aurora theater gunman James Holmes, who appeared in court Thursday morning without his infamous dyed-red hair.

Instead, Holmes sported very short brown hair with minimal stubble on his face. You can see what he looks like in a new mugshot the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office released Thursday, Sept. 20.

Prosecutors said they will no longer be pursuing access to Holmes’ notebook, which may include detailed, premeditated notes about the July 20 attack. Holmes’ defense lawyers, who are arguing that the notebook should be protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, have been arguing this issue with prosecutors since the court proceedings began almost two months ago.

James Holmes on Sep. 20, 2012 (left) and July 20, 2012 (right)

James Holmes on Sep. 20, 2012 (left) and July 20, 2012 (right)


READ MORE: Temporary Aurora theater memorial taken down by families, city Wednesday

But this may not mean an end to prosecutors’ pursuit of the notebook.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson said her prosecution team will revive their pursuit of the notebook “if and when it becomes relevant to the case.” That point is likely to come about if the defense presents an insanity plea, which most believe to be a certainty.

READ MORE: Holmes reportedly tells prison guard he has amnesia

Calling their pursuit of the notebook a quest into ”uncharted legal waters,” prosecutors said that continuing to argue for the public release of the document would have required taking their case to the state’s supreme court — a process that could have played out over a number of months. Prosecutors said they “were not interested in delaying this case any longer.”

A sketch of James Holmes at a court proceeding on Sept. 20, 2012. It shows Holmes' head, shaved free of the infamous dyed-orange hair. (Chris Mosher)

The defense team also threw a curve ball at Thursday’s proceedings.

Saying “there is not one iota of evidence” that proves Holmes made threats or was banned from the University of Colorado-Denver’s campus, defense attorney Dan King asked for sanctions to be filed against the prosecution team for making false statements in open court.

A court order was unsealed Thursday in which prosecutors are filing 10 new attempted first degree murder charges against Holmes. The total number of charges he now faces is 152.

Holmes’ next court appearance will be a status conference on Oct. 11.