New documents confirm Holmes trial details, further suggest insanity plea

James Holmes mugshot. Sept. 20, 2012. (Photo: Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office)

James Holmes mugshot. Sept. 20, 2012. (Photo: Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office)

DENVER — Soon after one the most-scrutinized trials in state history began, a gag order was issued by a judge and many of the court documents were sealed. But on Friday, much of that once-private information regarding suspected Aurora theater gunman James Holmes was made public.

Perhaps one of the biggest new discoveries made from examining over 50 documents that were released Friday morning pertains to Holmes’ defense team. Documents confirm that a psychiatry expert has been added to that group, further suggesting that an insanity plea may be in the works.

Holmes is facing 152 charges for the July 20 attack, which occurred during a midnight showing of “the Dark Night Rises.” There were 12 people killed in the attack and 58 others were injured.

Documents filed by the defense team, meanwhile, ask the judge to sanction members of the prosecution for what they called “reckless disregard for the truth.” Those sanctions, according to documents, were later denied by Arapahoe County District Judge William B. Sylvester.

The accusations from the defense team likely came in response to more information detailed in the new documents. 

Though the name of the professor has been blacked out, prosecutors have said that Holmes did threaten a professor at the University of Colorado-Denver weeks before the shooting. When the professor reported that threat, the university banned Holmes from non-public portions of the campus.

The defense team has denied these claims.

The newly-released documents also show the prosecution continuing to build a case alleging that Holmes was angry at the failure of a once-promising academic career. They say he began stockpiling a weapons cache only after his professors began urging him to seek another career due to several academic failures.

Also among the information released with the new documents was a confirmation that Holmes sent a package to CU psychiatrist Lynne Fenton. The packages contains a notebook that reportedly includes descriptions of the shooting, but Fenton has claimed she never saw it.

The details of that notebook remain private after the prosecution recently stopped their push for it. They say they will resume that push if the notebook becomes crucial to the trial — and it likely will if Holmes enters an insanity plea. 

Also among the new information released Friday was a statement from prosecutors that Holmes spoke with another university student in March about killing people “when his life was over.”

Documents that were not released Friday included an arrest affidavit, which contains information about the police investigation following the shooting.