Connecticut Court urged to order release of Newtown shooter’s belongings

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A newspaper lawyer urged the Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday to allow reporters to examine some of the Newtown school killer’s belongings, saying information on a possible motive for the 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults is of high public interest and concern.

The requested materials include a spreadsheet ranking mass murders and a notebook titled “The Big Book of Granny.” The notebook contains a story that shooter Adam Lanza wrote in fifth grade about a woman who has a gun in her cane and shoots people and another character who likes hurting people, especially children.

The Hartford Courant and the state Freedom of Information Commission are appealing a decision by a lower court judge, who ruled in 2016 that state police don’t have to release Lanza’s documents. The commission had ordered state police to release the materials, saying they didn’t fall within exemptions to the state’s public records laws.

Lanza, a 20-year-old with troubling mental health issues, shot his mother to death at their Newtown home before killing 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. He killed himself as police arrived at the school.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the appeal Thursday. A decision isn’t expected for several months.

“These are matters of public concern,” William Fish, a lawyer for the Courant, told justices.

Andrew Julien, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Courant, expanded on that point after the hearing.

“We are seeking these documents through the court because we think they will shed light on what was in the mind of a mass killer,” Julien said. “We think these documents are important because they may contain warning signs, they may contain red flags that could become part of a prevention strategy that could be used to prevent shootings like this from ever happening again.” Read more…