Colo. theater shooting case enters new phase
A judge has ordered the Colorado theater shooting suspect to stand trial, but his attorneys say they’re not ready to enter a plea.
District Judge William Sylvester ruled Thursday night that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to proceed with charges alleging James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a suburban Denver movie theater July 20.
Holmes is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
The next major step is for Holmes to enter a plea during an arraignment hearing. Sylvester scheduled the arraignment for Friday but noted that defense lawyers will likely ask for a delay.
His defense attorneys filed papers earlier Thursday saying he’s not ready to enter a plea.
Holmes’ attorneys also objected to news media requests to bring cameras into the courtroom during the arraignment. Cameras have been barred from court since Holmes’ initial appearance in July.
If Holmes, 25, is convicted of first-degree murder, he could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have not said whether they would pursue that sentence.
At a preliminary hearing this week, prosecution witnesses testified that Holmes spent weeks amassing an arsenal and planning the attack at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” They also detailed an elaborate setup at Holmes’ apartment designed to explode at the same time as the theater attack several miles away.
Prosecution witnesses testified that Holmes began acquiring weapons in early May and by July 6 had two semi-automatic pistols, a shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle, 6,200 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines that allow a shooter to fire more rounds without stopping to reload.
Holmes’ lawyers called no witnesses this week. They have said he is mentally ill.