Prosecutors drop effort to obtain Colorado shooting suspect's notebook

Defense attorneys argue notes belonging to Colorado shooting suspect are protected by doctor-patient privilege


Prosecutors in the Aurora movie theatre massacre have dropped their efforts to get access to a notebook suspect James Holmes allegedly sent his therapist the day before the shooting rampage that left 12 people dead and 58 others wounded.

It's believed the notebook could contain a confession and perhaps a motive for the shooting. Defense attorneys argued the notebook is privileged material under the doctor-patient relationship between Holmes and his University of Colorado psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton.

Holmes is in for today's hearing wearing the same maroon prison scrubs. But he has a different look. Gone is the orange dye in the hair. The defendant now has short brown hair and a cropped brown beard. He is attentive yet showing no emotion.

In dropping their efforts to get their hands on the notebook, prosecutors said they still believe it is not privileged material and expect it will be part of their case when Holmes enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Even without the notebook, prosecutors have a lot of evidence that Holmes was sane at the time of the shooting. There was 2 months worth of planning to buy guns, ammunition and booby trapping his apartment.

He also allegedly wore body armor during the attack and wrote on a web site's chat room asking others if they would visit him in jail.

Former Colorado District Attorney Craig Silverman believes the prosecution did a wise thing by dropping the effort to get the notebook.

"It could shorten James Holmes' life by up to a year," he said.  "There will not be an appeal delaying the litigation in this case. I expect the prosecution to seek the death penalty. The defense's job is the keep their client alive. This move today may have cost James Holmes a year off his life."

The case is moving at a glacial pace, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for November.

Holmes has yet to enter a plea.

Dan Springer joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in August 2001 as a Seattle-based correspondent.