Aurora theater shooter being held at federal prison in Pennsylvania

Posted at 8:26 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 20:34:46-04

DENVER – Federal authorities have revealed that the Aurora theater shooter is being held at a federal prison in Pennsylvania.

James Holmes is housed in a high-security facility in Allenwood. There are 825 other inmates there, all of whom are male.

Families of shooting victims were supposed to be notified of Holmes' new location by midnight. They've been fighting to learn his location since he was moved out of Colorado last year.

“The State sought to place the inmate in the Federal System several months ago, but placement required finding space at a facility that could provide appropriate security,” said Mark Fairbairn, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Fairbairn added the move was made after the high-security facility in Allenwood recently became available and "the move to the Federal prison was secured."

George Brauchler, the District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District — who announced in April he was running for the governorship in 2018 — said in a tweet he was disappointed that "victims and public have to rely on Feds to provide information hidden by CDOC and @GovofCO (Governor John Hickenlooper)."

But he wasn't the only one to react to the news. 

Tom Sullivan, the father of one of the victims in the theater shooting, told Denver7's Jackie Crea knowing where the shooter is housed will give families a small sense of relief. 

"This is the person that keeps you up at night. This is what wakes you out of a sleep from remembering the sights, the sounds, the smells from that," Sullivan said. "This would give those parents... spouses, the ability to tell that loved one, 'this is where he is.'"

The gunman was transferred to an out-of-state prison at the beginning of 2016, but officials did not say where or why he was transferred.

At the time, a Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman said the move was part of an agreement with another prison to exchange inmates, which can happen for a variety of reasons. Revealing the location would thwart the purpose of the agreement, the spokeswoman said.

But the Denver Post found out the transfer was the result of an assault from another inmate as they were both passing in a hallway at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City.

The newspaper said they learned of the attack from a letter claiming to be written by the alleged attacker, 27-year-old Mark Daniels. In the letter, Daniels said the assault happened on Oct. 8, 2015.

Victims of the Aurora Theater Shooting filed a complaint with the Crime Victim Services Advisory Board in June 2016 over the Department of Correction's secrecy with the location of the shooter.

A committee ruled in April 2017 prisons should have done more to inform the victims' families of the theater gunman's secretive move to an out-of-state prison.

The shooter was housed in the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City, where he was heavily supervised. Then he was moved to the San Carlos Correctional Facility in Pueblo, where he had more contact with other inmates.

The theater shooter is serving life sentences for murdering 12 people and injuring 70 others at the Century 16 theater.