DENVER (AP) — The judge in the deadly Colorado theater shooting case refused Monday to lift a gag order that prevents the University of Colorado from releasing information about former graduate student and suspect James Holmes.
Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester also ruled that he would release some court documents in the case.
James Holmes, a former Ph.D. student at the university, is accused of going on a shooting rampage on July 20 at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie in suburban Denver, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.
Members of the public will have access to a list of documents filed, as well as some submitted by attorneys. Some key documents, including the arrest affidavit that outlines law enforcement's case against Holmes, will remain sealed. Documents being released Monday were routine documents that are standard in criminal cases that include allowing defense attorneys to inspect the crime scene.
In one document, however, defense attorney Daniel King argued that Holmes be allowed to sit with his attorneys at the defense table, and not in the jury box where Holmes sat during his initial appearance July 23.
King said that the deputies placed him there out of concerns for Holmes' safety "due to the apparent presence, statements, and behavior of individuals in the audience of the courtroom."
King argued that seating Holmes away from the defense table gave the impression that Holmes was expressing threats or exhibiting dangerous behavior, threatening a fair trial. That request was granted.
During the initial hearing three days after the shooting, at least two men stared at Holmes during the hearing, which concluded without incident.
Sylvester said the case remains under investigation and releasing that information would harm Holmes' right to a fair trial and be contrary to public interest.
In his order on the University of Colorado, he said, he "will not jeopardize the integrity of the process and the truth-seeking functions" of the courts by authorizing the premature release of records.
Last week, Holmes' lawyers said he suffers from a mental illness but didn't disclose any details about his condition. Defense attorney Daniel King said Holmes sought out university psychiatrist Lynne Fenton for help weeks before the shooting.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to establish they had a doctor-patient relationship. Sylvester said he may reconsider his order about what information the university can release after that issue is settled.
Sylvester he considered arguments by prosecutors and defense attorneys that hundreds of witnesses and victims have not been interviewed during "the critical early stages of the investigation."
"It is certainly in the public's interest that law enforcement officials conduct a complete investigation thoroughly and efficiently," Sylvester wrote.
Steve Zansberg, the attorney representing a consortium of 21 media organizations, including The Associated Press, said in a prepared statement that Sylvester's partial release of documents brings "much needed transparency to this judicial proceeding."
But he added: "We are disappointed that the affidavits of probable cause remain under seal at this time, but are hopeful that the Court will revisit that issue sometime in the not too distant future."
Documents that will be released under Sylvester's order include Holmes' defense attorney's request that their own experts be present for scientific testing of evidence. In documents, the evidence to be tested includes guns, bullets, shell casings and biological samples, which can include DNA, blood, or other bodily fluids.
Police said Holmes methodically stockpiled guns, ammunition and material for explosives for months and that he had received shipments at both the university and his nearby apartment.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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