Menace To Society

Good God:

Thirty-eight days before the attack on the Century Aurora 16 movie theater, the psychiatrist treating suspect James Holmes told a police officer that her patient had confessed homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, according to newly unsealed court documents in the murder case against Holmes.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, also told the officer that Holmes had stopped seeing her and had been threatening her in text messages and e-mails, the documents state. The officer, Lynn Whitten, responded by deactivating Holmes’ key-card access to secure areas of University of Colorado medical campus buildings, according to search-warrant affidavits.

In other testimony, Fenton claimed she did not tell police. It’s not clear to me exactly what happened here. But reading between the lines, it looks like the University perceived a danger and just made sure they got him off campus (as happened with Loughner. Or Sandusky, for that matter).

Most people who act like this don’t go on murderous rampages, obviously. But the lack of due diligence here is startling. And it does open up the likelihood that this was kept quiet because it didn’t fit in with the “he just snapped” narrative.

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  1. Thrill

    That’s a big problem in the law enforcement/security field. Organizations don’t talk to each other, don’t like to share sensitive information, and stop caring about threats the minute they think they’ve displaced them.

    I think the campus officer was wrong to not forward what she knew to Denver PD or anyone other department. But I’m not surprised that she didn’t.

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  2. Xetrov

    A bit of devil’s advocate here but what legally could the police have done before he went into the theater with the intent to kill? He wasn’t guilty of any crimes at the time (that they knew of). Should they have searched his apartment based on her recommendation?

    As far as Doctor/Patient confidentiality, I’m not surprised the woman changed her tune. If she did talk to the police about a patient, she could be in deep shit. I don’t think a vague warning as outlined qualifies for the Tarasoff standard.

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  3. Thrill

    The police could have simply gone to his residence and spoken to him and asked if he was planning on harming anyone based on the tip from the psychiatrist that he posed a threat. Something may have developed from that or maybe he would even have decided not to carry out the attack.

    The point is that there were warning signs that could have been acted upon but they weren’t.

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  4. Mississippi Yankee

    That’s a big problem in the law enforcement/security field. Organizations don’t talk to each other, don’t like to share sensitive information, and stop caring about threats the minute they think they’ve displaced them.

    I think I heard something about this on a national level too. Early Sept. 2001, early Sept. 2012…

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  5. Seattle Outcast

    No shit – the guy is a total fucking nutjob? Good thing we have these “professionals” out there to tell us this for a massive fucking fee.

    Mental health is a massively overstaffed career field.

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