Andrew de Bartolome’s freshman yearbook photo
Andrew de Bartolome's freshman yearbook photo (Courtesy 9News)

Both the Boulder County District Attorney's Office and the Daily Camera have filed objections to a bid by the 16-year-old charged with attempted murder in the Centaurus High School pipe-bomb case to have his hearings closed to the public.

Andrew de Bartolome, who is free on bond, is charged as an adult with felony counts of first-degree attempted murder, use of explosives and possession of an explosive or incendiary device, as well as two counts of felony menacing, in the May incident at the Lafayette high school.

He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 28 as well as a hearing on Oct. 9 at which a judge will be asked to determine whether de Bartolome's case should be transferred to juvenile court or remain in district court.

De Bartolome's attorneys have asked a judge to close both hearings to the public, saying evidence regarding his "life, health, development, history and functioning" could be presented in court.

But District Attorney Stan Garnett's office filed an objection Wednesday, arguing that the defense did not meet the burden of proof required to close the courtroom.

"Simply listing personal matters that might be addressed, without specifics, is not enough," Deputy District Attorney Peggy Jessel wrote. "Nor is it proper to conclude, without substantiation, that an open courtroom would not be in his best interest."

Prosecutors also argued the case is of significant interest to the community.

"This community is concerned with juvenile crime," Jessel wrote. "That interest is even more significant when the alleged crime involves school violence."

The Camera's attorneys, in the newspaper's motion filed Thursday afternoon, noted that the public has a "strong, First Amendment-based" right to access the preliminary hearing, and that de Bartolome's attorneys offered no reason a judge should overcome that.

"The public's significant interest in access to these proceedings outweighs any interest that may be furthered by their closure," Ashley I. Kissinger, at attorney for the Camera, wrote in the newspaper's motion.

A Centaurus High teacher discovered an explosive device, which police described as being "very similar to a pipe bomb," inside the school on May 13, forcing the school's evacuation and the closure of South Boulder Road for several hours.

Officials said the device had a 9-volt battery and could have injured those in close proximity had it exploded. The device was detonated by the Boulder County bomb squad away from the school.