Judge puts civil suit against Holmes’ psychiatrist on hold

Prosecutors have said they will pursue the death penalty for James Holmes.

Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty for James Holmes.

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DENVER — A civil lawsuit against Lynne Fenton, the psychiatrist who treated Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes, has been put on hold by a Denver federal judge.

Lawyers for Fenton and the University of Colorado, as well as plaintiff Chantel Blunk, asked U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel to put an administrative hold on the civil suit to avoid conflict with the murder case that is pending against Holmes.

Daniel said he would temporarily close the case, but that it could be reopened if there is good reason. The parties will submit joint status reports every six months beginning on Dec. 1.

Blunk’s civil suit states that Fenton should have asked police to place a psychiatric hold on Holmes after he told her he fantasized about killing people.

Blunk’s husband, Jonathan Blunk, was one of 12 that were killed in the Aurora theater last July.

This comes after Homes’ attorneys announced his plans to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyers wrote in a court filing Tuesday that he intends to enter the plea during his next court hearing on May 13. Prosecutors announced in April they will seek the death penalty against Holmes.

Holmes faces 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes for the attack at the Century Aurora 16 theater at the premiere of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” July 20, 2012.

His trial date is scheduled for next February.

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