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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Hearing for accused theater shooter James Holmes could be proxy trial

    Hearing for accused theater shooter James Holmes could be proxy trial


    Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office / Reuters file

    James Holmes, 25, is charged with 160 criminal counts, including murder, for a July 20 shooting rampage at a movie theater that left 12 people dead and dozens more wounded.

    By Dan Elliott, The Associated Press

    CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The suspect in the Colorado movie theater killings returns to court this week for a hearing that might be the closest thing to a trial the victims and their families will get to see.

    James Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student, is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 by opening fire in a darkened theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora last July.

    At a week-long preliminary hearing that begins Monday, prosecutors will outline their case against Holmes, the first official public disclosure of their evidence. The judge will then determine whether to send the case to trial.

    Legal analysts say that evidence appears to be so strong that Holmes may well accept a plea agreement before trial. In such cases, the preliminary hearing can set the stage for a deal by letting each side assess the other's strengths and weaknesses, said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and now a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

    Preliminary hearings "are often the first step to resolving the case, a mini-trial so both sides can see the writing on the wall," Levenson said.

    Judges rarely throw out a case at this stage because prosecutors must only meet a "probable cause" standard — much lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard for a guilty verdict at trial, said Mimi Wesson, a professor of law at the University of Colorado Law School.

    Related: Court hearing in Colorado theater shooting zeroes in on James Holmes' notebook


    Holmes, who faces more than 160 counts including first-degree murder and attempted murder, could have waived his right to a preliminary hearing, allowing lawyers on both sides to prepare for trial. But defense lawyers sometimes go through with the hearing because it gives them a clearer picture of prosecution evidence.

    "In this case, I think it likely that the genuine purpose of the hearing would be information-gathering by the defense," Wesson said.

    Court officials expect many survivors and family members of the dead to attend the preliminary hearing, along with scores of spectators and reporters. At least two overflow rooms are being prepared where the hearing can be observed by video and audio feeds.

    District Judge William B. Sylvester has imposed a gag order on attorneys and investigators, and many court documents have been filed under seal, so little is known about Holmes' path from promising graduate student to suspect in a mass murder.

    The few details that have been made public suggest a disturbing descent.

    Holmes enrolled in the University of Colorado, Denver Ph.D program in neuroscience in 2011. In the spring of 2012, authorities say, he began buying weapons, high-capacity magazines, ammunition, explosives and combat gear. At some point in the school year, he began seeing a university psychiatrist. He failed an oral exam on June 7 and withdrew from the university three days later.

    He was arrested outside the theater shortly after the July 20 shootings. Federal authorities have said he entered the theater with a ticket and is believed to have propped open a door, slipped out to his car and returned with his weapons.

    Hours later, investigators found his apartment booby-trapped with potentially deadly explosives, police said.

    In previous hearings — many witnessed by victims and survivors — Holmes' appearance and behavior ranged from bizarre to unremarkable. On his first day in court, his hair was a shocking orange-red, his face was covered with stubble and he seemed to be in a daze.

    By last week, his hair was a natural-looking brown and he wore a full beard. He sat quietly and seemed to be aware of the proceedings.

    Holmes could get the death penalty or life in prison without parole if he goes to trial and is convicted of murder. He could avoid the death penalty if his lawyers argue he is mentally ill or innocent by reason of insanity.

    Related: Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes mentally ill, attorneys say


    Holmes' mental health is expected to be a major factor whether his case ends in a plea agreement or goes to trial.

    His lawyers have told the judge that Holmes was mentally ill, and court records indicate they may call witnesses in the preliminary hearing to testify about his mental health. The defense team has not said whether Holmes would enter an insanity plea.

    An insanity plea is different from the competency argument used for Jared Loughner, who pleaded guilty to killing six people and wounding 13, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Arizona in 2011.

    A judge ruled in May 2011 that Loughner was mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to undergo psychiatric treatment. After Loughner spent more than a year in treatment, the judge ruled he had become competent, and Loughner accepted a plea agreement that carried a sentence of life in prison without parole instead of execution.

    The decision on whether to seek the death penalty will be up to the new district attorney for Arapahoe County, George Brauchler, who was elected in November and takes office Tuesday, after the preliminary hearing begins. Brauchler has not indicated what he will do.

    A spokeswoman for outgoing District Attorney Carol Chambers, who oversaw the filing of charges against Holmes, declined to comment.

    If prosecutors do not seek the death penalty, and if Holmes is convicted of or pleads guilty to first-degree murder charges, he would face a mandatory sentence of life without parole.

    Hearing for accused theater shooter James Holmes could be proxy trial - U.S. News
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    Bomb tech describes diabolical setup at theater shooting suspect's apartment

    By Casey Wian. Jim Spellman and Michael Pearson, CNN
    updated 2:28 PM EST, Tue January 8, 2013



    Police reveal new Aurora shooting info

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • NEW: ATF agent: Holmes bought 6,295 rounds of ammunition, four guns beginning in May
    • Bomb technician testifies about materials designed to set fire inside suspect's apartment
    • Police also play 911 calls from the July 20 shooting rampage
    • The details come on the second day of suspect James Holmes' preliminary hearing


    Centennial, Colorado (CNN) -- The recording is loud, chaotic and difficult to understand. There's too much sound to make out what the caller is saying.
    Just one thing is unmistakable: the sound of gunshots.
    At least 30 of them. In 27 seconds.

    Prosecutors on Tuesday played the first 911 calls from the July 20 Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting as they continued building their case at a preliminary hearing for James Holmes, the 25-year-old former neuroscience graduate student accused of killing 12 people at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

    Detective Randy Hansen testified that the first call to authorities came 18 minutes after the film started. More trickled in until the torrent was complete: 41 calls in all, he said.


    New details on Aurora shooting



    Families send letter slamming Cinemark



    Breaking down the insanity defense



    Theater shooting as it happened

    Because the movie was still playing and, in at least one, the gunman was still stalking the theater, the calls are difficult to make out. In one, a 13-year-old girl called to say her cousins had been shot. A 911 operator tried to lead the sobbing girl through performing CPR on one who was still breathing.
    Family members of victims attending the hearing held each other and choked back tears as the calls were played.

    After detailing the calls, prosecutors turned to the intricate explosive web authorities say Holmes left in his apartment, including jars of homemade napalm with bullets suspended inside and topped with thermite, a material that burns so hot, it's nearly impossible to put out.

    In photos displayed in court, the mixture looked like amber-colored gelatin.
    Elsewhere in the sparsely decorated apartment, a container of glycerin hung connected to a tripwire, ready to tip into a frying pan that held a homemade substance that would have sent sparks flying onto carpets soaked in oil and gas -- setting them aflame, FBI bomb technician Garrett Gumbinner testified. A robot sent inside discovered the tripwire.

    He said Holmes also told him that he had left a boombox by a trash container outside his apartment rigged to start playing loud music 40 minutes after he turned it on.

    Next to it, Holmes said he left a remote-control toy car and a control device set to control the explosives inside his apartment, Gumbinner testified.

    It was not immediately clear whether authorities found such a device. Gumbinner said he did not clear the outside of the building.

    Also, Steve Beggs, a supervisory agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified that Holmes had purchased 6,295 rounds of ammunition and four firearms beginning in May. Ten weeks before the attack, on May 10, he bought two canisters of tear gas over the Internet, Beggs said.

    He was still buying materials into July, Beggs said, testifying that authorities have video of Holmes buying an accessory at a Colorado gun store on July 1. In the video, he said, Holmes' hair is bright orange.

    The details came on the second day of Holmes' preliminary hearing, which could last all week. It is meant to prove to Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester that prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed to trial.

    Cynthia Davis, center, visits the roadside memorial set up for victims of the Colorado shooting massacre across the street from the Century 16 movie theater on Monday, July 30, in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve people were killed in the theater early July 20 during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." Suspect James Holmes was taken into custody shortly after the attack. More photos: Colorado movie theater shooting


    Colorado massacre: Mourning the victims



    The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre

    Police release the official photo from Holmes' booking after the shooting.

    Holmes often had a blank stare during his court appearance Monday, appearing to be in a daze.

    Victims and their relatives and journalists watch the proceedings Monday.

    Flags fly at half-staff Monday at the Arapahoe County Courthouse in Centennial, Colorado, where the movie theater shooting suspect had his first court appearance. The prosecutor held a press conference outside the courthouse.

    Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers talks to reporters Monday before heading into the courthouse. Chambers said the decision on whether to pursue the death penalty is a long process that involves input from victims and their families.

    Family members of the victims arrive at the courthouse Monday for the suspect's first court appearance.

    The Century Aurora 16 multiplex in Aurora becomes a place of horror after a gunman opened fire Friday in a crowded theater. At least 17 people remained hospitalized late Sunday, July 22, in the shooting rampage that shocked the nation.

    Holmes is accused of opening fire during a midnight screening of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Holmes purchased four weapons and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition in recent months, police say.

    Police investigate outside the Century 16 multiplex Saturday, July 21, a day after the mass shooting. Authorities have been tight-lipped about a possible motive in the case.

    Agents search the suspect's car outside the theater.

    Aurora police escort a sand-filled dump truck containing improvised explosive devices removed from Holmes' booby-trapped apartment Saturday. Authorities have said they believe the suspect rigged his place before leaving for the movie theater.

    Police break a window at the suspect's apartment Friday in Aurora.

    Law enforcement officers speak with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, center, outside the suspect's apartment Saturday.

    Law enforcement officers prepare to disarm the booby-trapped apartment Saturday.

    Officials tow cars outside Holmes' apartment Saturday. Police disassembled devices and trip wires set up in the apartment.

    Officers prepare to place an explosive device inside the apartment.

    Debris flies out a window, right, after law enforcement officers detonate an explosive device inside the apartment Saturday.

    People mourn the victims during a vigil behind the theater where a gunman opened fire on moviegoers in Aurora.

    A woman grieves during a vigil for victims behind the theater.

    A distraught woman receives counseling from Pastor Quincy Shannon, left, in front of Gateway High School in Aurora, where the families of the missing met following the shooting.

    Lin Gan of Aurora holds back tears as she speaks to reporters about her experience in the Century 16 theater Friday.

    People embrace before a vigil for victims behind the theater where a gunman opened fire on moviegoers.

    Investigators work on evidence near the apartment of James Holmes on Friday.

    Members of the Aurora Police Department SWAT unit walk near the apartment of James Holmes. Police have Holmes, 24, of North Aurora, in custody.

    Television news crews gather in front of the home of Robert and Arlene Holmes, parents of 24-year-old mass shooting suspect James Holmes, in San Diego, California, on Friday.

    A popcorn box lies on the ground outside the Century 16 movie theatre.

    An NYPD officer keeps watch inside an AMC move theater where the film "The Dark Knight Rises" is playing in Times Square on Friday. NYPD is maintaining security around city movie theaters following the deadly rampage in Aurora, Colorado.

    Adariah Legarreta, 4, is comforted by her grandmother Rita Abeyta near the Century 16 Theater in Aurora.

    A cyclist and pedestrians pass a theater showing the latest Batman movie in Hollywood, California, on Friday. Warner Brothers said it was "deeply saddened" by Friday's massacre at a Colorado screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."

    Obama supporters observe a moment of silence for the victims at a campaign event at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers, Florida, on Friday.

    Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster, was one of the victims.

    A woman waits for news outside Gateway High School, a few blocks from the scene of the shooting at the Century Aurora 16.

    Aurora police chief Daniel J. Oates speaks at a press conference near the Century 16 Theater on Friday.

    Agents search the trash container outside the suspect's apartment in Aurora.

    A Federal ATF officer carries protective gear onsite at the home of alleged shooting suspect James Holmes.

    Obama speaks on the shootings at the event in Fort Myers.

    Moviegoers are interviewed at the Century Aurora 16.

    Officers gathered at the theater Friday.

    Investigators were a common sight at the theater Friday.

    Authorities gather at the shooting suspect's apartment building in Aurora. Police broke a second-floor window to look for explosives that the suspect claimed were in the apartment.

    Screaming, panicked moviegoers scrambled to escape from the black-clad gunman, who wore a gas mask and randomly shot as he walked up the theater's steps, witnesses said.

    University of Colorado Hospital spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said that all of the wounded had injuries from gunshot wounds, ranging from minor to critical.


    Onlookers gather outside the Century Aurora 16 theater.

    A woman sits on top of her car near the crime scene.

    Police block access to the Town Center mall after the shooting.


    Cell phone video taken by someone at the theater showed scores of people screaming and fleeing the building. Some, like this man, had blood on their clothes.

    Witnesses told KUSA that the gunman kicked in an emergency exit door and threw a smoke bomb into the darkened theater before opening fire.

    What is believed to be the suspect's car is examined after the shooting.


    Police Chief Dan Oates said there was no evidence of a second gunman, and FBI spokesman Jason Pack said it did not appear the incident was related to terrorism.

    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers remarks regarding the shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater on Friday at a campaign event in Bow, New Hampshire.

    Colorado movie theater massacre


    Holmes' attorneys are expected to seek a "diminished capacity" defense that could prevent the case from getting that far.

    In Monday's first day of testimony, police officers recounted arriving at the movie theater to find a detached, sweaty Holmes outside and a horrific scene inside the theater, where the floor had become slippery with blood and cell phones rang unanswered.

    While none of the law enforcement witnesses who testified Monday offered insight into a possible motive for the shooting, some new details emerged.
    Prosecutors aired surveillance camera video taken inside the theater complex that shows a man they say is Holmes dressed in dark trousers, a light-colored shirt with a T-shirt underneath and a ski cap. In the video, the man is shown using a cell phone at a ticket kiosk.

    Aurora survivors: How they're doing

    Holmes printed out a ticket that had been purchased on July 8, they said.
    After going into the theater, Holmes apparently popped a small plastic piece commonly used to secure tablecloths onto an outside door, preventing it from closing, Police Sgt. Gerald Jonsgaard testified. Authorities believe Holmes then went outside, armed himself and returned to the theater to begin killing.

    While no cameras captured the shooting inside the theater, cameras outside captured the aftermath as waves of people ran out. One employee leaped over a counter to escape.

    Police Officer Jason Oviatt, the first officer to encounter Holmes after the rampage ended, testified Monday that Holmes seemed "very, very relaxed."
    Holmes, sweating and smelly, his pupils dilated, didn't struggle or even tense his muscles as he was dragged away to be searched.

    "He seemed very detached from it all," Oviatt testified, describing Holmes as unnaturally calm amid the chaos and carnage.

    Aurora police Officer Justin Grizzle, a 13-year veteran, wiped away tears Monday while describing his efforts to rush badly wounded victims to a hospital in his police cruiser, including shooting victim Ashley Moser and her husband, who wanted Grizzle to turn around and head back to the theater.

    "He was shot in the head somewhere. He kept asking where his ... daughter was," Grizzle said. "He opened the door and tried to jump out."

    Grizzle said he had to drive and hold the man by his shoulder to keep him in the car.

    The girl the man was seeking, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, was shot four times and wasamong those killed. Veronica's mother, Ashley, faces a long recovery after being paralyzed in her lower body and miscarrying after the shooting.

    The scene was still gruesome when Detective Matthew Ingui arrived 12 hours later with other investigators.

    "We saw the first victim laying on the ground," he said "There's shoes, blood, body tissue and popcorn on the floor."

    Blood was everywhere, he said.

    Holmes had no visible reaction during the testimony.

    Investigators found 209 live rounds of .223-caliber ammunition and 15 cartridges of .40-caliber rounds inside the auditorium, Ingui said.

    Holmes was a doctoral student in Aurora, in the neuroscience program at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado, Denver, until he withdrew a month before being arrested outside the bullet-riddled movie theater. He had been a patient of a University of Colorado psychiatrist, according to a court document filed by his lawyers.

    His attorneys are expectedto argue that their client has "diminished capacity," a term that, according to the Colorado Bar Association, relates to a person's ability or inability "to make adequately considered decisions" regarding his or her legal representation because of "mental impairment or for some other reason."

    Several times, on cross-examination, the attorneys have asked witnesses about Holmes' demeanor and what he looked like when police found him.

    Holmes did not speak during Monday's hearing. His bushy hair and long beard contrasted with the bright red hair and close-cropped facial hair he sported during previous appearances.

    During portions of the hearing, family members of victims held one another, sobbing.

    Security was tight. Spectators had to pass through a metal detector and then were searched again before entering the courtroom. At least nine armed officers stood guard inside, some of them scanning the audience packed with reporters and victims' family members.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/08/justice/colorado-theater-shooting/index.html?eref=googletoolbar
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    Detective: Holmes played puppets with paper bags

    By By DAN ELLIOTT | Associated Press – 44 mins ago


    Enlarge Photo
    Associated Press/Bill Robles, Pool - This courtroom sketch shows James Holmes being escorted by a deputy as he arrives at preliminary hearing in district court in Centennial, Colo., on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. …more Investigators say Holmes opened fire during the midnight showing of the latest Batman movie on July 20, killing 12 people and wounding dozens. (AP Photo/Bill Robles, Pool) TV OUT less

    Related Content

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    CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — A detective says the alleged gunman in the Colorado theater shooting acted strangely in an interview soon after the attack.

    Det. Craig Appel testified Tuesday that James Holmes had paper bags over his hands to preserve gunshot residue. Holmes played with the bags as if they were puppets. Appel said Holmes also played with a cup on the table and tried to jam a staple into an electrical outlet.

    Defense attorney Daniel King asked whether Holmes had been tested for drugs or other substances. Appel said there was no indication that he was under the influence of anything.

    Appel acknowledged that Holmes' pupils' were dilated, something that had also been noted by the officer who arrested him.

    http://news.yahoo.com/detective-holmes-played-puppets-paper-bags-223013292.html;_ylt=AjpgPhY0Clw2476KIFY860es0NUE;_ ylu=X3oDMTNuaXFma3FvBG1pdAMEcGtnAzE2OTVlYjczLWVmMT MtM2FhOC05OTA5LTAyZDg4YzIyMGNlOARwb3MDNwRzZWMDbG5f QXNzb2NpYXRlZFByZXNzX2dhbAR2ZXIDM2JhMDM2ZTAtNTllMy 0xMWUyLWE4OWQtYTQyZWNhMDllZGZm;_ylv=3
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