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Lawyers in Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Return to Court
On Wednesday, defense lawyers and prosecutors in the Colorado theater shooting returned to court before an important hearing in the case, according to The Associated Press. Both sides have been told by State District Judge William B. Sylvester to make appearances in front of him to make sure that both sides are prepared for the preliminary hearing next week.
At the preliminary hearing, prosecutors are going to outline the case they have assembled against the defendant, James Holmes. When the preliminary hearing is complete, Judge Sylvester is going to determine if there is enough evidence to make Holmes stand trial.
The shooting took place at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado on July 20. Holmes has been charged with killing 12 people and wounding 70 during the attack. According to prosecutors, Holmes opened fire at a midnight showing of the Batman movie, “The Dark Night Rises.”
Holmes has yet to enter a plea in the case, in which he faces multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. The defense lawyers for Holmes claim that he suffers from a mental illness.
The preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin on Monday and it will provide the public with a first official view of the evidence gathered against Holmes. A gag order was issued by Judge Sylvester immediately after Holmes was arrested. The gag order barred investigators and attorneys working on the case from speaking in public about the case. Most of the documents in the case are sealed.
Holmes was a graduate student at The University of Colorado, which has not said much about the case either. Multiple media organizations asked the school to release records of Holmes, but those requests were barred by Judge Sylvester at the behest of the prosecutors working on the case.
The prosecutors who asked for the ban on the release of Holmes’ school records said that if the information is released it could jeopardize the right to a fair trial for Holmes. Judge Sylvester agreed at first, but decided to edit his order last month to permit the release of the documents after objections in court by some media organizations.
At the school, Holmes was enrolled in the neuroscience program for a Ph.D. It was reported that Holmes started to stockpile ammunition and firearms during his spring semester at the school. Holmes made threats to a professor in June and then filed withdrawal papers with the school on June 10 after he failed a year-end exam, according to prosecutors. Holmes’ lawyers said that Holmes saw the school psychiatrist the next day. The psychiatrist attempted to report Holmes to a campus security committee.