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Prosecutors: Theater shooting suspect told classmate he wanted to kill people

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:14 PM EDT, Fri August 24, 2012
James Holmes is accused of killing 12 people during a showing of
James Holmes is accused of killing 12 people during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" last month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New court documents reveal conversations about wanting to kill
  • Holmes is accused of killing 12 and injuring 58 others
  • Prosecutors say Holmes also made threats to a professor

(CNN) -- New court documents released Friday in the Colorado movie theater shooting reveal that suspect James Holmes "had conversations with a classmate about wanting to kill people" months before the July 20 massacre.

The new details about evidence gathered in the case against Holmes were made public in a court document filed by prosecutors over a defense move to keep some of the suspect's educational records from the University of Colorado private.

"The defendant had conversations with a classmate about wanting to kill people in March 2012, and that he would do so when his life was over," the document says. No other details are provided about those conversations.

Holmes, 24, is accused of opening fire at an Aurora theater last month during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," leaving 12 dead and injuring 58 others.

He has been charged with murder and attempted murder and faces two weapons charges.

The new document also reveals more details about the timeline of events leading up to the theater shooting, beginning with Holmes failing his graduate school oral boards a month before the shooting.

Holmes was a Ph.D. candidate studying neuroscience at the University of Colorado's Anschutz campus in Aurora. Soon after, he was "denied access to the school after June 12, 2012, after he made threats to a professor." Prosecutors said Thursday that the threats were reported to campus police.

Subsequently, Holmes "started the process to voluntarily withdraw from his graduate studies program."

"After he was denied access to the CU-Denver Anschutz campus, he began a detailed and complex plan to obtain firearms, ammunition, a tear-gas grenade, body armor, a gas-mask and a ballistic helmet, which were used in the commission of the murders and the attempted murders," the document says.

A shackled Holmes, his hair still dyed red, appeared at a Thursday court hearing in the ongoing fight between defense attorneys and prosecutors over access to his educational records.

The main issue is whether the prosecution should receive non-medical documents from the university. These would include admissions forms, grades and transcripts. Prosecutors argue that Holmes' records "are relevant to the investigation." The judge did not issue an immediate ruling.

The University of Colorado said this month that it hired a former U.S. attorney to conduct an independent review into how the school handled Holmes.

A court document revealed that Holmes was a patient of CU psychiatrist Lynne Fenton before the killings.

She was so concerned about his behavior that she mentioned it to her colleagues, saying he could be a danger to others, CNN affiliate KMGH reported this month, citing sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Fenton's concerns surfaced in early June, sources told the Denver station.

They told KMGH that Fenton contacted several members of a "behavioral evaluation and threat assessment" team to say Holmes could be a danger to others, the station reported.

The "BETA" team consists of key staff members from various university departments who have specific expertise in dealing with assessing potential threats on campus, the school says on its website.

"Fenton made initial phone calls about engaging the BETA team" in "the first 10 days" of June, but it "never came together" because in the period Fenton was having conversations with team members, Holmes began the process of dropping out of school, a source told KMGH.

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