Holmes was under psychiatrist's care: lawyer
By Nicholas Riccardi And Colleen Slevin ,AP
July 29, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
DENVER, Colorado -- The former graduate student accused in the deadly Colorado movie theater shooting was being treated by a psychiatrist at the university where he studied, the first indication that he may have sought help before the rampage that killed 12 people and wounded 58.
Attorneys for James Holmes, 24, made the disclosure in a court motion Friday as they sought to discover the source of leaks to some media outlets that he sent the psychiatrist a package containing a notebook with descriptions of an attack.
The motion said the leaks jeopardized Holmes' right to a fair trial and violated a judge's gag order.
Holmes' lawyers added that the package contained communications between Holmes and his psychiatrist that should be shielded from public view. The document describes Holmes as a “psychiatric patient” of Dr. Lynne Fenton.
The motion did not reveal when Holmes began seeing Fenton or whether he was being treated for a mental illness. Legal analysts expect Holmes' attorneys to use an insanity defense at trial. Holmes is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. A hearing on the new defense motion also is scheduled that day.
Calls to Holmes' lawyer and the state public defender's office were not immediately returned, nor was a message left with Fenton's office. A spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County prosecutor's office declined comment.
The University of Colorado's website identified Fenton as the medical director of the school's Student Mental Health Services. An online resume stated that she sees 10 to 15 graduate students a week for medication and psychotherapy, as well as 5 to 10 patients in her general practice as a psychiatrist. Schizophrenia was listed as one of her research interests.
Fenton was disciplined by the Colorado Medical Board in 2004 for prescribing herself Xanax while her mother was dying, state records show. She also was disciplined for prescribing the sleep aid Ambien and the allergy medicine Claritin for her husband, and painkillers for an employee who suffered from chronic headaches.
Fenton worked for the U.S. Air Force in Texas as an acupuncturist before joining the University of Colorado in 2005.
A 1998 Denver Post article quotes a Colorado acupuncturist named Lynne Fenton discussing how acupuncture could be used to enhance women's busts.
In the week since the July 20 attack at an Aurora movie theater, few details have emerged about Holmes' life — especially the year he spent as a graduate student in Colorado. Holmes enrolled in a doctoral program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver Anschutz medical campus in June 2011. He left without explanation in June.
University officials have refused to disclose much more about Holmes, citing an order from the judge barring them from releasing information that would “impede an ongoing investigation.” Staff, professors and classmates have been mum about Holmes' life at the school.
Holmes' appearance at his first court hearing on Monday stunned the victims' families and fueled speculation about the state of his mental health. His hair dyed a shocking comic-book shade of orange-red, he looked sleepy and, at times, inattentive.
This October 2009 photo provided by the University of Colorado Medical School shows Dr. Lynne Fenton, director of the school's Student Mental Health Service. (AP)