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Accused Colorado theater gunman's dating profiles can be used as evidence

James Holmes sits in court for an advisement hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colorado June 4, 2013. REUTERS/And
James Holmes sits in court for an advisement hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colorado June 4, 2013. REUTERS/And

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Profiles that accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes posted on dating websites can be used at his upcoming murder trial, the judge overseeing the case ruled on Thursday.

Public defenders sought to have information that Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student, provided to the websites Match.com and AdultFriendFinder.com suppressed because it exceeded what was sought in search warrants.

But Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour agreed with prosecutors that Holmes had no expectation of privacy when he created the profiles.

"The defendant not only identified himself when he signed up ... he specifically requested that his identification and very personal information be distributed to other members of the websites," Samour wrote in his ruling.

Holmes, 25, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder for opening fire inside a cinema in the Denver suburb of Aurora during a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in July 2012.

The shooting rampage killed 12 moviegoers, and 70 others were wounded or injured.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if he is convicted.

Prosecutors seek to use a line that Holmes allegedly wrote on his dating profiles asking, "Will you visit me in prison?" to show he knew right from wrong, which could undermine his insanity defense.

The decision by Samour was the latest ruling in a series of legal challenges by defense lawyers to nearly all the evidence amassed against the California native.

Last week, Samour ruled that statements Holmes made to police after his arrest and before he was told he had a right to remain silent were admissible.

Police did not violate Holmes' rights because they had an "objectively reasonable need to protect the public and officers from immediate and grave danger," the judge found.

The officers testified at earlier hearings that Holmes told them he acted alone in the shooting spree, that he had four weapons and had rigged his apartment with explosives.

Hearings on defense motions surrounding the death penalty are scheduled for December. The trial is set to begin in February.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney)

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