Colorado theatre shooting victims harassed by conspiracy theorists: prosecutors
Judy Goos, second from left, hugs her daughters friend, Isaiah Bow, 20, while eye witnesses Emma Goos, 19, left, and Terrell Wallin, 20, right, gather outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater at a midnight opening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," killing at least 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:22PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 5:40PM EST
DENVER -- Victims and witnesses in the Colorado theatre shootings have been pestered by conspiracy theorists, impersonated in court filings and had their addresses and phone numbers posted online, prosecutors said.
In a document made public late Wednesday, District Attorney George Brauchler said some victims are concerned for their safety because of the unwanted attention.
Brauchler asked District Judge William Sylvester to ensure the victims' and witnesses' names are redacted from any documents released in the future, although many were identified in previously released court filings and some have granted media interviews, called news conferences or appeared at public events.
Brauchler said it is important to accommodate the victims' and witnesses' wishes because the prosecution's case requires the co-operation of some of them.
James Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 70 at a theatre in the Denver suburb of Aurora on July 20. He is scheduled to enter a plea next month.
In a court filing dated Tuesday, Brauchler said some victims have been subjected to "relentless contacts by proponents of purported 'conspiracies."'
He also said maps with the addresses and phone numbers of victims have been posted online, and some people allegedly impersonating victims and witnesses have filed court motions in the case.
Brauchler didn't identify the victims of the alleged harassment or the suspected perpetrators or offer further details. His spokeswoman didn't immediately return a call.
Tom Sullivan, whose son, Alex, was killed, said someone talking about space aliens tried to contact him about the theatre shootings through his union, the American Postal Workers.
Shelly Lucido, president of the union's Aurora local, said the man called her espousing "almost body-snatcher stuff" and wanted to be put in contact with Sullivan. She refused.
"It was really, really weird," said Lucido, who reported the call to Aurora police. Police spokesman Frank Fania said he was unaware of the incident but was checking on it.
Sylvester has barred attorneys and investigators from speaking publically about the case and sealed many documents. Holmes' lawyers are attempting to compel a Fox News reporter to disclose her sources for a story describing the contents of a notebook Holmes sent to a psychiatrist. The defence contends the leaks violated the judge's gag order.
The secrecy surrounding details of the case have prompted numerous objections and requests for information from media outlets.
The city of Aurora has also asked Sylvester to reconsider his secrecy orders, saying they became moot when prosecutors outlined their case against Holmes during a preliminary hearing in January.
Attorneys for the city said city officials have received requests from emergency responders in other cities for details on how they managed the response to the massacre, and from media, academics and individuals seeking recordings of 911 calls and other information.