James Holmes case: Death penalty foe Bob Autobee's letter to victims stirs controversy

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Bob Autobee facing reporters after Edward Montour's guilty plea.
Does the father of a victim in one death-penalty case have the right to contact family members in another capital case? And, under Colorado law, do prosecutors have any obligation to facilitate that conversation -- even if the discussion isn't going to help their cause?

The questions are key to a new controversy in the case of accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes.

See also: James Holmes's attorneys say prosecutors are discouraging victims from talking to them

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James Holmes trial postponed again, new date pending

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes in court in June 2013.
The trial of Aurora theater shooting gunman James Holmes will be postponed again.

Jury selection for Holmes's trial was scheduled to begin on October 14. However, the examiner tasked with conducting a second sanity evaluation of Holmes has requested more time to complete that examination. Instead of an August 15 deadline, the examiner has asked to submit his report by October 15 -- a request that Judge Carlos Samour writes in an order he "has little choice but to grant."

See also: James Holmes case: Read letters that his defense team sent to victims

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James Holmes case: Read letters that his defense team sent to victims

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
Prosecutors in the Aurora theater shooting case deny that they are discouraging victims from talking to lawyers for gunman James Holmes. In a recent motion (on view below), they claim they've told victims they're free to speak with Holmes's lawyers if they choose -- though they add that some victims have balked at the defense's attempts to contact them. Prosecutors say several victims have become upset by such contacts and have asked them to intervene in order to stop Holmes's defense team from sending them letters. But prosecutors say it's not their place to do so.

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James Holmes's attorneys say prosecutors are discouraging victims from talking to them

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes's attorneys are accusing state prosecutors of discouraging Aurora theater shooting victims from talking to them, according to a motion filed this week (and on view below). They argue that prosecutor Lisa Teesch-Maguire sent an e-mail to victims with the message that efforts by Holmes's attorneys to contact them have been in order "to manipulate, trick and lie" to them -- and that Holmes's defense team isn't to be trusted.

The e-mail warns victims that they may be contacted by a woman whose "goal is to try and find Victims who will help the Defendant" -- a statement Holmes's attorneys say is untrue.

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James Holmes trial jury selection will be open to the public and media, judge rules

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes in court in June 2013.
The public, and the media, will be allowed to attend jury selection in the trial of accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes. Attorneys in the case requested that the proceedings be closed to the public, but Judge Carlos Samour ruled this week that the selection process will be open. It is scheduled to begin in October.

"Sunshine, not darkness, is the appropriate disinfectant here," Samour wrote.

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James Holmes hearing: Jury selection could take months

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes in court in June 2013.
If you live in Arapahoe County, there is a .01 percent chance you will be called for jury selection in the case of accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes -- odds far greater than winning the Colorado Powerball. Approximately 6,000 possible jurors will be summoned, the judge in the case said -- and of those, 24 will be chosen.

At a court hearing Thursday, attorneys discussed the logistics of that selection process.

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Fox News' Jana Winter won't reveal theater shooting sources due to Supreme Court denial

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Jana Winter, as seen in a Fox News image.
Since December 2012, our Melanie Asmar has been reporting about efforts by attorneys representing accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes aimed at compelling Fox News reporter Jana Winter to reveal her sources regarding a story about a notebook Holmes allegedly sent to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton. Winter cited law-enforcement sources as saying that the notebook contained stick-figure drawings of a gun-wielding killer.

Now, however, Winter is off the hook. A New York court had earlier held that the state's shield law meant she wouldn't have to testify. Holmes's legal team appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices have declined to take the case.

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Update: Aurora theater shooting witness-victims won't be barred from watching trial

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes in court in June 2013.
Update: The Colorado Supreme Court has declined to hear the petitions filed on Monday by James Holmes's attorneys. Read the high court's (brief) orders at the end of this post.

Original post: Attorneys for Aurora theater shooting gunman James Holmes have filed two petitions with the Colorado Supreme Court. One seeks to overturn an order that Holmes undergo a second sanity evaluation. That petition has been filed under seal.

Another asks the high court to reverse a ruling that victims who are also witnesses can watch the trial. In that petition, which is not sealed, Holmes's attorneys argue that allowing the victims to hear testimony will re-traumatize them and influence the way they testify.

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James Holmes's lawyers object to second sanity evaluation

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes and defense attorney Daniel King in court in June 2013.
Lawyers for Aurora theater shooting gunman James Holmes have until May 5 to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to review a decision by Judge Carlos Samour to have Holmes undergo a second sanity evaluation. Samour ordered the second evaluation after prosecutors alleged that the first one, done last summer, contained "numerous deficiencies" and that the psychiatrist who conducted it had an "unfair bias."

But Holmes's lawyers don't think that having him evaluated again is fair, either.

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Alison Michelle Ernst, Hillary Clinton shoe thrower: Misinfo in ties to James Holmes case

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Big photos, videos below.
Last week, Alison Michelle Ernst hurled a shoe at Hillary Clinton while the latter spoke at an event in Las Vegas. Afterward, the press found a tie between Ernst and the case against Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, and it's legit. However, major outlets such as the Associated Press are reporting that Ernst filed bizarre motions in the matter, with one claiming that Holmes had invaded her brain. That's wrong, and we bet the misinformation thrills the real man behind the document: Jonathan Lee Riches. Here's the twisted story.

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