James Holmes, the suspect in the murder of 12 people at last Friday's midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado, was being treated by a university psychiatrist prior to the deadly attack, CNN reported Friday.
The disclosure came in a court filing by lawyers for the 24-year-old former graduate student in neuroscience. They asked the judge in the case to order that a package Holmes sent to the psychiatrist, which police seized earlier in the week, be handed over to them.
The filing came just three days before Holmes is due in court to face charges. Holmes' previous court appearance last Monday sparked widespread speculation about his mental health given his strange appearance. Television cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom for Monday's hearing.
Media reports earlier this week quoted law enforcement officials saying that the package contained a journal detailing plans of the attack.
According to attorneys' request, the package, which Holmes sent to Dr Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist as the University of Colorado, was a protected communication.
"The materials contained in that package include communications from Mr. Holmes to Dr. Fenton that Mr. Holmes asserts are privileged," said the document filed by public defenders representing Holmes.
"Mr. Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected."
Prosecutors asked District Court Judge William Blair Sylvester to deny the request. Sylvester will hold a hearing on the request Monday.
In a related matter, police in the state of Maryland announced Friday the arrest a man who made allusions to the Colorado shooting in threats to his employer. Police found a cache of weaponry, including semi-automatic rifles, at the man's home.
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