A disturbing number of red flags are being raised concerning the medical doctor who was treating James Holmes, the suspect in the horrific movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo. We don't know all the details, but she could be held responsible, in part, for the deaths of the 12 innocent victims.
It appears Dr. Lynne Fenton might have seen this coming. It seems she was trained to recognize loose cannons such as Holmes.
First, she is a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, who was treating Holmes. In fact, James Holmes sent Fenton a notebook prior to the shootings, filled with, among other things, drawings of the movie massacre he planned to carry out, which turned out to be similar to the way it actually occurred. Although Holmes sent the notebook to the doctor before he allegedly carried-out the crime he foretold, for some reason the notebook sat unopened in a mail room until after the murderous rampage.
If his psychiatrist has received the notebook before the crime, she might have been held partially responsible for he murders. But even without her knowledge of the notebook, she may still bear some burden.
This is because a psychiatrist has a duty to report when her patient intends to harm someone. This stems from a Supreme Court ruling called the Tarasoff case. In that case a patient told his psychiatrist that he planned on killing a woman who'd spurned him. The psychiatrist subsequently notified police that the patient might be a danger, but the doctor did not tell the young woman or her parents that the patient said he was going to kill her. The police did pick up the patient and evaluated him, but determined that he was safe, so they let him go. Not long after that, the patient did indeed murder the woman, who could have, and according to the court should have, been warned.
So the question is, did James Holmes tell Dr. Lynne Fenton, his psychiatrist, that he was planning on shooting-up the Aurora theater? If not, should Dr. Fenton have known her patient might do something like what he's accused of doing?
After all, she is the medical director of the University of Colorado's Mental Health Services. What's more, she specializes in schizophrenia. Further still, Dr. Fenton is actually a member of the University of Colorado's Behavioral Threat Assessment team, which evaluates and responds to students of concern!
And there's one more thing: just six weeks before the theater massacre, Dr. Fenton gave a presentation to other psychiatrists about the psychiatric components of the video game called, "World of Warcraft." Apparently, James Holmes was addicted to that very game.
Dr. Lynne Fenton does not have a stellar career. Colorado records show the state medical board disciplined Dr. Fenton for prescribing herself Xanax in 2004. She also allegedly came under fire from that same governing board for prescribing painkillers, sleeping pills, and allergy medicines incorrectly.
It will be interesting to learn as this case unfolds what Dr. Fenton knew and what, if anything, she did to prevent this tragedy.