CENTENNIAL | A state committee was unable to find that Colorado’s corrections department violated victims’ rights by refusing to reveal where theater shooter James Holmes is serving his life sentence.
The six members of the committee who met Friday, June 24, deadlocked when they voted on a motion that the victims’ rights had been violated. Therefore, the motion failed. One member was absent.
Several survivors of the 2012 attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others have said they are upset after prison officials quietly transferred Holmes to an out-of-state prison in January after he was attacked by another inmate. State officials have repeatedly refused to tell the public where or how he is being held.
Arapahoe County prosecutors say even they don’t know where the convicted killer is serving his life sentence.
Lisa Teesch-Maguire, one of the prosecutors who handled the case, said in May that multiple victims were filing a complaint with the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, arguing the state’s decision to keep the gunman’s location secret violates the Colorado Victims’ Rights Act.
Teesch-Maguire said she isn’t sure the division could compel the Colorado Department of Corrections to disclose the gunman’s location, but she said the victims would like to know details about his time in prison, including what privileges he has and who is allowed to visit him.
“What does his daily life look like, which are things the victims want to know,” she said.
Some of the family’s questions include whether Holmes’ family knows where he is, and whether Holmes is barred from disclosing his location, she said.
Teesch-Maguire, who specialized in working with the victims throughout the trial, has been in contact with DOC since last year trying to get details about the killer’s location. Other than being told he is not in Colorado or California, she said prosecutors don’t have details.
Some victims testified during Holmes’ sentencing that they didn’t want him imprisoned in California, closer to his parents who live near San Diego. Prison officials had assured prosecutors last year that they would not move him there.
Prison officials believed other inmates were likely to continue to target Holmes “because of the high profile nature of his crimes,” according to the documents.
Not knowing Holmes’ location meant attorneys representing several shooting victims and their families in a lawsuit against theater owner Cinemark were not able to question him during their civil trial unfolding this week in state court.
Without Holmes’ testimony, attorneys were forced to rely on the spiral notebook in which he detailed elaborate plans for the killings.
— Sentinel reporter Brandon Johansson contributed to this report.