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James Holmes told classmate he wanted to kill, prosecution alleges

The Lookout

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James Holmes (Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office)


DENVER—James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre, told a classmate in March that he wanted to kill people.

That's alleged in court records released Friday. Also contained in a motion by the prosecution is information that Holmes failed a graduate school oral examination at the University of Colorado in June—just weeks before the shooting rampage that killed 12 and left dozens injured at a screening of the latest Batman film.

The Arapahoe County district attorney's office is seeking Holmes' educational records and has indicated that his grades, emails, admission applications and other school-related activity are relevant to the July 20 shooting.

"What's going on in the defendant's [education] life is extremely relevant in this case," Karen Pearson, an attorney with the DA's office, said during Thursday's hearing.

The prosecution's records also indicate Holmes was denied access to the university, where he was studying neuroscience, on June 12, after he threatened a professor. He then, the DA's office said, began a "detailed and complex" plan to obtain firearms, ammunition, a tear-gas grenade, body armor, a gas mask and a ballistic helmet—all of which, the prosecution said, were used in the crime.

Holmes' defense team says looking into the suspect's education records is a "fishing expedition," and that any motive is irrelevant. The defense has said Holmes is mentally ill.

The 24-year-old faces 142 accounts, including 24 counts of first-degree murder and more than 100 charges of attempted murder.

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