Judge: Colorado shooting suspect to face trial
Judge William Sylvester said prosecutors have established probable cause to proceed with all 166 felony counts they filed against James Holmes, including first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree murder with extreme indifference and attempted murder.
The Associated Press
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A judge ruled late Thursday that there’s enough evidence for James Holmes to face trial on charges that he killed 12 people and injured 70 in a Colorado movie theater last summer.
Judge William Sylvester said prosecutors have established probable cause to proceed with all 166 felony counts they filed against him, including first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree murder with extreme indifference and attempted murder. He ordered that Holmes continue to be held without bail.
Holmes is due to be arraigned Friday, but his defense attorneys filed papers Thursday saying he’s not ready to enter a plea. Sylvester noted Holmes’ attorneys will likely ask Friday that the arraignment be delayed.
Defense attorneys did not explain why they are not ready for arraignment. Their filing also objected to media requests to bring cameras into the courtroom. Other than during his brief initial appearance in July, cameras have been barred from court during Holmes’ case.
Sylvester’s ruling came after a three-day hearing in which prosecutors laid out their case against Holmes, 25.
A succession of police and federal agents testified that Holmes spent weeks amassing guns and ammunition, concocted explosives to booby-trap his apartment and scouted the movie theater where a horrific attack was launched on hundreds of terrified people.
The officers also described a hellish scene inside the theater on July 20, when 12 people were shot to death before their families and friends’ eyes and scores of others were wounded amid a din of gunshots, screams and the blaring soundtrack of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Holmes’ lawyers called no witnesses and cross-examined only a few of those summoned by prosecutors during the hearing.
The preliminary hearing was designed to determine whether prosecutors’ case is strong enough to put Holmes on trial.
Holmes’ lawyers haven’t said if he will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but since his arrest outside the theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora after the shootings, they have portrayed him as a man with serious mental problems prone to bizarre behavior.
Tom Teves, whose son Alex was among the dead, said he would rather see Holmes plead guilty to first-degree murder, avoiding a traumatic trial, bringing a life sentence and closing the door to an insanity defense.
If found not guilty by reason of insanity, Holmes could conceivably be released someday if he is deemed to have recovered. “Don’t pretend he’s crazy,” Teves said Wednesday. “He’s not crazy. He’s no more crazy than you and I.”