The first time they met, James Holmes told a psychiatrist he wanted to kill people. By their last visit, she was worried enough that she broke the law herself. Dr. Lynne Fenton testified yesterday she was so concerned Holmes might be a danger to the public in the month before the Aurora theater shooting that she contacted police and Holmes’ mother the day of her last session with him, the Denver Post reports. It was a violation of health care privacy laws, she conceded.
Fenton decided against taking further action. Holmes’ confessed thoughts of homicide were too generalized, and. even though prosecutors contend he had already amassed a small arsenal, he didn’t tell Fenton about specific plans. “He never met the criteria for me to hospitalize him,” she said. “I guess I always sort of hoped he would maybe come back for treatment.” The tension of Fenton’s concern about what her patient might do and her limits in what she would do to stop him punctuated one of the most significant days of the trial so far. Fenton and a colleague were the last mental health professionals to see Holmes before the 2012 attack killed 12 and injured 70. That makes her uniquely positioned to help answer the trial’s central question: Was Holmes sane when he carried out the shooting?