The former graduate student of University of Colorado accused of the mass killings in the Denver premiere of new batman movie was reportedly treated by a psychiatrist at the university.
The revelation came from the court documents submitted Friday by the attorneys for James Holmes, 24, as they sought to discover the source of leaks to some media outlets that he sent a package containing a notebook with descriptive details of the attack.
The defense motion accuses the government of leaking information to the media in defiance of a gag order, thereby jeopardizing Holmes' rights to due process and fair trial by an impartial jury. It says his lawyers will request a hearing to determine "appropriate sanctions for this misconduct."
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In addition, the attorneys are seeking a court order requiring prosecutors to turn over the contents of a package that Holmes sent to Dr. Lynne Fenton and was later seized by investigators. The filing also said that the package contains communications between them and as Holmes was a "psychiatrist patient" of Dr.Fenton, the conversations are private, hence needs to be barred from the public.
According to the school website, Fenton, medical director for student mental health services at the University of Colorado-Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, provides medication and psychotherapy for grad students in addition to her teaching duties. The professional biography on the site also stated that she had conducted research on Schizophrenia.
Fenton also is a member of the campus-based "behavioral assessment and threat assessment team," which helps faculty and staff deal with "individuals who may be threatening, disruptive or otherwise problematic," according to that group's website.
As of now, it is not clear whether Holmes was being treated under the threat-assessment program or under the routine counselling Dr.Fenton provided for students.
Under Colorado law, mental health professionals cannot be held liable in civil suits for failing to predict a patient's violent behavior unless it involves a "serious threat of imminent physical violence against a specific person or persons." When such a threat is made, the mental health professional is required to take action, which may include notifying those targeted or a law enforcement agency.
The University has been mum regarding the new developments, citing the gag order issued by Judge Sylvester which prevents it from talking to media. However, earlier this week, the university had confirmed it had received a suspicious package which was "immediately investigated and handed over to authorities within hours."