James Holmes: Did he call CU hospital nine minutes before Aurora theater shooting?
Most of the lengthy hearing yesterday in the James Holmes case focused on whether the prosecution will have access to a package the suspect allegedly sent to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton before the July 20th shooting at an Aurora movie theater. But one quick exchange between Fenton and the defense raised an intriguing question: Did Holmes call the University of Colorado Hospital nine minutes before he opened fire?
It was a bit of a tangent from the main substance of the hearing, which focused on doctor-patient privilege and whether this package should be kept from prosecutors, who seem to believe its contents might establish a motive -- undermining a possible insanity defense.
The question of a possible phone call minutes before Holmes started shooting moviegoers in the Century 16 theater came up after a second recess in the nearly four-hour hearing yesterday afternoon. Tamara Brady, Holmes's public defender, asked Fenton if she recognized a specific phone number, which Brady read for her.
Sam Levin Photo of sketches of Lynne Fenton from the hearing yesterday.
Fenton said she did: It was an operator switchboard number for the University of Colorado Hospital, where Fenton is the medical director of the Student Mental Health Center.
Brady then said: "Do you know whether James Holmes called that number nine minutes before the shooting started?"
Fenton responded that she did not.
Karen Pearson, a prosecutor, followed up by asking Fenton, who was brought in as a witness for the first time yesterday, if Holmes would have had a specific phone number for Fenton and her office that he could use if he wanted to reach her.
Fenton, who gave short, deliberate answers throughout the hearing, said yes.
Continue reading for more about James Holmes's possible phone call to the CU hospital nine minutes before the Aurora theater shooting.