Hospital got hang-up call before Colo. shooting

Associated Press Modified: August 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm •  Published: August 31, 2012
Advertisement
;

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The University of Colorado Hospital said Friday that no one at its switchboard talked to the movie theater shooting suspect in the minutes before the attack, but a caller did hang up without saying anything around that time.

One of James Holmes' lawyers said at a court hearing Thursday that Holmes reached out to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton that night by calling the hospital switchboard, which can reach doctors after business hours.

Attorney Tamara Brady said Holmes made the call nine minutes before he is accused of opening fire at a Batman movie premiere, killing 12 people and injuring 58. Brady provided no evidence at the hearing to support that claim, and she did not immediately return a message Friday.

Hospital marketing director Brad Fixler said the switchboard did receive a seven-second call at 12:31 a.m. on July 20, about eight minutes before 911 dispatchers began receiving calls about the shooting. But he said the caller hung up without saying anything.

"We did not receive any calls asking specifically for Dr. Fenton nor any other psychiatrist at our hospital," Fixler said.

The Denver Post first reported the story.

Fixler said calls to the hospital switchboard are recorded for patient safety, and officials there examined those recordings to find out if Holmes called. Other calls received around that time were unrelated to the Holmes case, he said.

Fixler did not immediately know if the recording of the seven-second call was given to police. He said the switchboard also records phone numbers but that he didn't know if the number was associated with Holmes. He referred further questions to the Aurora Police Department, which did not immediately return phone messages.

Brady made the assertion about the phone call in court as she sought to establish that a doctor-patient relationship existed between Holmes and Fenton right up to the shooting. Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson suggested that Holmes also could have called Fenton directly at her office but apparently did not.

Prosecutors suffered a setback at the hearing in their attempts to obtain a notebook Holmes sent to Fenton that reportedly contains violent descriptions of an attack. Judge William B. Sylvester ruled that prosecutors could not disprove that a doctor-patient relationship existed between Holmes and Fenton.

Now the question is whether Holmes, 24, sent the notebook to Fenton for use in his treatment. Prosecutors argued the notebook wasn't meant to be used for therapy purposes because Holmes wasn't planning to be around.

"He intended to be dead or in prison after this shooting," Pearson said in court. Pearson didn't explain why she believed Holmes would be dead, but she pointed to a dating site where Holmes asked, "Will you visit me in prison?"

Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman said prosecutors were prepared to present testimony that Holmes posted the comments on AdultFriendFinder.com. and Match.com.

Neither Pearson nor Orman specified how the comments were made. But in the days following the shooting, bloggers posted profiles reportedly found on those sites showing the same prison comment accompanied by a picture of a man with orange hair that resembled Holmes.

Continue reading this story on the...