Colo. Massacre Suspect Dialed Psychiatrist Before Shooting: Defense

The call was placed to an after-hours number at a hospital at the University of Colorado

By Solomon Banda
|  Thursday, Aug 30, 2012  |  Updated 5:02 PM PDT
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"Batman" Suspect Dialed Doc Before Attack: Defense

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Holmes is accused in the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

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The suspect in the Colorado shooting tried unsuccessfully to call his university psychiatrist 9 minutes before he opened fire during a Batman movie premiere, defense attorneys revealed in court Thursday.

James Holmes placed the call to an after-hours number at a hospital at the University of Colorado, Anschutz campus, where he could reach psychiatrist Lynne Fenton, defense attorney Tamara Brady said.

It wasn't clear why he called Fenton, and she wasn't immediately available to talk to him. Holmes is accused in the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

The detail about the call came out during a hearing about Holmes' relationship with Fenton, to whom he mailed a package containing a notebook that reportedly contained violent descriptions of an attack.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to allow them to review the notebook as part of their investigation, but defense attorneys say the journal is protected by doctor-patient privacy laws, and is inadmissible.

Brady brought up the phone call in an effort to show that Holmes and Fenton had an ongoing doctor-patient relationship.

"Do you know that Mr. Holmes called that number 9 minutes before the shooting started?" Brady asked Fenton.

Fenton responded, "I did not."

Prosecutors asked Fenton if Holmes also had her office phone number and whether she could be reached that way. Fenton said yes to both questions.

Fenton also testified that she met with Holmes only once, on June 11, and that she believed their privileged relationship was limited to that day.

When Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson asked Fenton if she had a doctor-patient relationship with Holmes on July 19, when he mailed her the package, Fenton said, "I believe I did not."

Defense attorneys presented the judge a "client summary" that Fenton filled out after her meeting with Holmes. They argued the document established that the confidential nature of her relationship with Holmes was ongoing.

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