James Holmes
This June 4, 2013 file photo shows Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in court in Centennial, Colo. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

CENTENNIAL — Aurora police didn't realize until June that they improperly seized the bank records of the Aurora theater gunman 10 months earlier without a judge's permission.

In testimony Monday at a hearing in the case, Aurora police Detective Craig Appel said prosecutors told police in June that the court order used to seize James Holmes' records from Point Loma Credit Union in California did not have a judge's signature on it.

Detective Mark Yacano, who drafted the order in July 2012, said he believed a judge in California had to sign off on the order because that is where the credit union is based. Yacano said he worked with a police detective in San Diego to seize the records and drafted an order that he sent to the San Diego detective to get signed.

That detective, apparently confused by a notary's signature in a location where a judge normally would sign, presented the order to the credit union without getting a judge's signature. The bank turned the records over anyway, and Yacano testified that he received them in August 2012.

When police learned of the mistake in June, they drafted and had signed a new order to seize the records. But defense attorneys argue the initial, improper seizure means the judge shouldn't allow the records to be used at trial.

"They don't get a do-over on this one," defense attorney Kristen Nelson said Monday.

Prosecutor Jacob Edson said the information didn't tell investigators anything they didn't already know, so there was no harm in the mulligan.


Yacano testified that the credit union account was used to pay the bill for a credit card that police believe Holmes used to buy weapons before the theater attack.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Holmes at trial, which is scheduled to begin in February.

An investigator with Daniel King, chief trial deputy with the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office, shoots video of James Holmes’ apartment
An investigator with Daniel King, chief trial deputy with the Colorado State Public Defender's Office, shoots video of James Holmes' apartment in Aurora, Colorado in this Wednesday, July 25, 2012 file photo. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)