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Colorado shooting: James Holmes text message could be evidence

September 28, 2012|By Jenny Deam
  • Previously sealed court documents were released Friday in the case against James E. Holmes, who faces 152 charges in the Colorado movie theater shooting.
Previously sealed court documents were released Friday in the case against… (Arapahoe County Sheriff )

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The release Friday of previously sealed court documents in the case against Colorado movie theater shooting suspect James E. Holmes offer a glimpse of evidence that could be presented during his trial. Among the potential evidence: a text message he sent to a classmate, contents of his computers, and a notebook sent to his psychiatrist.

Also, Holmes’ attorneys are planning to call an expert to testify on Holmes’ mental condition, the documents said. The defense has previously said Holmes is mentally ill.

Judge William Sylvester has granted a prosecution request that additional physical evidence be gathered from Holmes. That evidence will include mouth swabs and fingerprints to be analyzed for a DNA match to the arsenal of weapons he allegedly used in the shootings and a palm print found on the theater exit door, according to the records.

Holmes, 24, was arrested without resistance minutes after police say he unleashed a barrage of gunfire inside a packed Century 16 movie theater. Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured.

A former neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Colorado-Denver, Holmes faces a total of 152 charges, including 24 counts of first-degree murder representing two for each person killed. He was in the process of withdrawing from the university at the time of the shooting.

Prosecutors have said in court that Holmes had failed a key oral exam in June. The apartment he had lived in was booby-trapped with explosives that took police days to dismantle.

The prosecution has not revealed whether it will seek the death penalty in the case that has sparked worldwide interest.

Even as some hints were revealed, much surrounding the case remains a mystery. The heavily redacted papers do not shed light on the motive behind the shooting or what happened during the time leading up to it.  Holmes’ arrest affidavits and search warrants remain under court seal and all authorities involved in the case are under a gag order.

While the records show that authorities obtained text messages that Holmes sent a classmate, the documents do not reveal the content.

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nation@latimes.com

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