Evidence in Colorado theater rampage to be revealed

By Keith Coffman | Reuters – 1 hr 32 mins ago

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) - Evidence in the case of last July's shooting in a Colorado theater that killed 12 and wounded 58 movie-goers will be made public for the first time next week, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The evidence will be presented at a hearing in which a district judge will decide if there are sufficient grounds for James Holmes, accused of the shootings, to stand trial.

Holmes, a 25-year-old former neuroscience graduate student, is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder for the shooting rampage, in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado, on July 20.

The defendant, who was in court on Wednesday along with some of the victims' families, is accused of opening fire during a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

Attorneys said they were prepared to proceed next Monday with a preliminary hearing, at which prosecutors will lay out their evidence so that Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester may decide if there is a basis for trying Holmes.

Prosecutors told Sylvester they plan to present DVDs, photographs and 911 calls at the hearing, which could last a week. With much of the evidence in the case is under seal, the hearing will be the first time some of it will be publicly released.

Holmes' lawyers, who analysts have suggested may be laying the groundwork for an insanity defense, said they would object to some expected testimony by witnesses on the grounds that it was hearsay.

At previous hearings, a defense lawyer has said Holmes suffered from an unspecified mental illness.

Minutes into the film, the police have said, Holmes left the theater to don a suit of tactical body armor, a helmet and a gas mask, before returning to open fire with multiple weapons on the unsuspecting crowd.