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Theater shooting defense lawyer clashes with psychiatrist

June 18, 2015

CENTENNIAL, Colorado (AP) — Attorneys for Colorado theater gunman James Holmes pointedly questioned a psychiatrist Thursday on whether he did enough to diagnose and treat Holmes before the deadly attack.

In the most heated exchange of the two-month trial, defense attorney Rebecca Higgs suggested Holmes’ symptoms and statements were more worrisome than Dr. Robert Feinstein indicated in his earlier testimony.

Higgs capped off the confrontation by intimating Feinstein hadn’t done enough.

“And who was it who told him you couldn’t fix him?” she asked. “It was you, Dr. Feinstein.”

“I didn’t say we couldn’t fix him,” Feinstein shot back. “I said we couldn’t fix him without his cooperation.”

Feinstein met with Holmes twice in May and June of 2012, just weeks before Holmes slipped into a packed suburban Denver theater during a midnight showing of a new Batman movie and opened fire. Twelve people died, 58 were wounded by gunfire, and 12 were hurt in the scramble to escape.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and his lawyers want him to be committed to the state mental hospital. Prosecutors argue Holmes was sane and should be convicted and sentenced to die.

Earlier Thursday, Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. ruled that jurors will be allowed to hear emotional details from Ashley Moser, who was paralyzed and had a miscarriage in the attack and whose 6-year-old daughter was killed.

Samour also ruled that prosecutors can briefly show jurors a photo of the 6-year-old, Veronica Moser-Sullivan.

Holmes’ lawyers had asked Samour to severely limit Moser’s testimony, saying it would unfairly bias the jury because the details are so heart-wrenching.

Samour said Moser could testify that she was excited to be pregnant, and that she left Veronica with a baby sitter earlier on the day of the shootings while she got an ultrasound scan.

She also can testify that when she took Veronica to the theater, she was under the mistaken impression that the movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” was a cartoon.

Samour agreed to bar some testimony, including Moser’s last words to her daughter. He also limited the details she could relate about her struggle to recover, including relearning how to use a spoon and go to the restroom.

Moser is expected to testify Friday as prosecutors wrap up their case.

Defense lawyers are scheduled to begin their case June 25. They told the judge they need two weeks.


Associated Press Writer Dan Elliott in Denver contributed to this report.

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