James Holmes prosecutor: "For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death"
Update: After DA George Brauchler announced at today's Aurora theater shooting hearing that he plans to seek the death penalty against James Holmes, Judge Carlos Samour turned his attention to defense attorneys' desire for Fox News reporter Jana Winter to reveal sources who gave her information about a notebook the suspect allegedly sent to his psychiatrist; see our previous coverage below. That meant more testimony from Sergeant Matthew Fyles, who revealed the existence of post-it note with a drawing on it in found in the same package as the notebook.
After Fyles took the stand, he was questioned by lead Holmes attorney Daniel King. During the conversation, he said he was not present at the Anschutz Medical Campus, where the package containing the notebook was received. Rather, he was at Aurora police headquarters when he was informed about the package's existence by Aurora Detective Alton Reed.
During a telephone conversation, Fyles said, Reed told him that the package contained a notebook with unknown writing on an unknown number of pages. However, Reed also told him about other items in the package, including burned currency and a single sticky-note with a drawing on it. He did not describe the drawing.
Photo by Sam Levin Attorney Daniel King.
In response to a question from King, Fyles revealed that he mentioned the notebook to a number of his colleagues at the Aurora Police Department. He advised members of the command staff and the homicide unit.
Shortly thereafter, Dori Ann Hanswirth, attorney for Fox News and Winter (who was in the courtroom for today's hearing), asked Fyles about the sticky note. But before she could get very far, prosecutor Rich Orman objected, saying the note didn't have anything to do with the contents of the notebook -- and Judge Samour agreed.
At that point, Hanswirth transitioned into a question about the unknown writing in the notebook. "I've never seen the inside of that notebook," Fyles told her.
Once Fyles finished testifying, Judge Samour deferred a ruling about whether to quash the subpoena for Winter, saying he wanted to give the defense a chance to question Detective Reed about whether he talked to anybody about the notebook. A hearing for this conversation was set for 1:30 p.m. on April 10.
Judge Samour said the hearing was important because he wanted to give the defense an opportunity to exhaust all reasonable efforts to learn the information without presenting Winter with what he referred to as a Hobson's choice -- either burn her sources and possibly ruin her journalism career or go to jail.
Winter was ordered to return to Colorado for the April 10 hearing.
Afterward, Judge Samour asked attorneys for Holmes to draft a written document waiving his right to a speedy trial, so that the new trial date could be set for February 2014. He then called a thirty-minute recess, but unexpectedly restarted the hearing sooner. As a result, some reporters were locked out of the courtroom, and by the time they got to the overflow room, the hearing was just ending.
Representatives of the court subsequently said that the waiver, signed by Holmes, was turned in to Judge Samour. It requires that the trial get underway no later than April 1, 2014.
A court spokesman also said Judge Samour encouraged the defense attorneys to decide soon whether they would like to change a not-guilty plea entered on Holmes's behalf by Judge William Sylvester, Samour's predecessor, to not guilty by reason of insanity. Samour didn't set a date by which such a change would have to be put in place, but he said the longer the defense team waited, the harder it would be for members to convince him.
Continue for our previous coverage of the April 1 hearing in the Aurora theater shooting case.