Colorado movie house massacre suspect was under psychiatrist's care
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A former University of Colorado graduate student accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in a shooting rampage at a Denver-area movie theater last week had been under the care of a psychiatrist who was part of a campus threat-assessment team.
The disclosure came in court documents filed on Friday by lawyers for James Holmes, 24, who is accused of opening fire last Friday on a packed showing of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
The defense attorneys, in their request to an Arapahoe County district judge, 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.
Mr. Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected, the filing said.
Fenton, medical director for student mental health services at the University of Colorado-Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, provides medication and psychotherapy for graduate students in addition to her teaching responsibilities, according to a school website.
A professional biography of Fenton posted on the site said she had conducted research on schizophrenia, including a two-year grant to work in the schizophrenia research department of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 2008 to 2010.
Fenton is also 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.
It could not be ascertained if Fenton was caring for Holmes under the threat-assessment program or under routine counseling she provided to students on campus.
Fenton could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment, and a spokeswoman for the University of Colorado medical school declined comment, citing restrictions under a gag order issued by the judge presiding over the case.