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Widow sues suspect's psychiatrist

Jan. 15, 2013 at 6:13 PM   |   Comments

DENVER, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A woman whose husband was killed in a Colorado massacre has filed a lawsuit accusing a psychiatrist of failing to use "reasonable care" in treating the suspect.

Chantel Blunk is taking legal action against the University of Colorado, Dr. Lynne Fenton and five other defendants whose names were not mentioned in the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver, The Denver Post reported.

Blunk's husband, Jonathan Blunk, was one of 12 people killed in Aurora, Colo., July 20, when James Holmes, 24, allegedly opened fire on a movie theater audience. Seventy people were wounded in the attack.

The lawsuit claims Holmes told Fenton, director of student mental health services at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus, "he fantasized about killing a lot of people." The suit alleges Fenton took no further action after notifying the university's Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team -- and "rejected the idea" of placing Holmes on a psychiatric hold.

"Fenton was presented with the opportunity to use .... reasonable care when the Colorado University police offered to apprehend James Holmes on a psychiatric hold," the suit alleges.

The Post said no court testimony or court documents to date provide an indication why Fenton spoke to police about Holmes. However, the newspaper reported in December Fenton had gone to police after Holmes talked about fantasies in which he killed people.

A university spokeswoman said the "lawsuit is not well-founded legally or factually," the Post said.

Holmes is charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder.

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