`Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes to face trial`

Last Updated: Friday, January 11, 2013 - 09:42

Zeenews Bureau

Denver: A US judge ruled on Thursday that there is enough evidence for suspect James Holmes to face trial for the cinema shootings in which 12 people were killed and 70 others were injured in July.

The ruling follows a three-day hearing in which prosecutors laid out their case against the suspect.

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Judge William Sylvester said prosecutors have established probable cause to proceed with all 166 felony counts they filed against Holmes, 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 on Friday, but his defence attorneys filed papers on Thursday afternoon saying he`s not ready to enter a plea. Sylvester noted Holmes` attorneys will likely ask in court on Friday that the arraignment be delayed.

Defence 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 earlier this week, 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 theatre where he would allegedly unleash a horrific attack on hundreds of terrified people.

The officers also described a hellish scene inside the theatre 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. But they pointedly raised the issue of Holmes` sanity at strategic moments, possibly foreshadowing a defence that some believe is his best hope to avoid the death penalty.

The preliminary hearing, which ended on Wednesday, 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 theatre in the Denver suburb of Aurora immediately after the shootings, they have portrayed him as a man with serious mental problems prone to bizarre behaviour.

(With Agency inputs)



First Published: Friday, January 11, 2013 - 09:42

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