In the preliminary hearing Monday for James Holmes, the man charged with the murder of 12 people at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20, began with Officer Jason Oviatt providing testimony. Reports from that day said that Holmes “stared off into space” and “seemed out of it” as he was taken into custody by officers, according to The Denver Post.
“He was very relaxed,” Oviatt testified. “It was like there weren’t normal emotional responses.”
When Holmes was found by officers he had his hands placed on the top of his vehicle with a semi automatic handgun next to his hands. Oviatt said that Holmes was “just standing there. Not doing anything. Not in any hurry. Not excited. Not urgent about anything.”
Oviatt also testified that at first he thought Holmes might have been a police officer because of the body armor he was wearing. Oviatt said the body armor made it difficult to search Holmes. When a search was conducted, police found an assault rifle near the door of Holmes’ vehicle, a rifle case in the car, a knife in his belt and magazine in his pockets.
Oviatt then told the court that Holmes said explosives in his apartment would explode if tripped when he was being searched. Victims continued to evacuate the theater as Holmes was being searched.
Another officer, Aaron Blue, testified Monday as well. Blue said that he held victim Jessica Ghawi in the back of his cruiser as another officer drove to the hospital. Ghawi died of her injuries. “Every time she moved, she stopped breathing,” Blue said.
Officer Justin Grizzle tried to hold back tears when he took the stand Monday to describe what it was like to enter the shooting scene and found “several bodies throughout the theater laying motionless. After what I saw in that theater, I didn’t want anyone else to die,” Grizzle said. Grizzle drove six victims to the hospital himself, including Ashley Mosher and Caleb Medley. Grizzle said that one victim tried to jump out of his cruiser to find his daughter. He also noted that he could hear blood sloshing in the vehicle as he drove to the hospital.
The preliminary hearing is expected to take all week as the prosecutors from Arapahoe County are revealing their case against Holmes. Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will determine if there is enough evidence against Holmes for the case to continue. Holmes has been charged with 164 counts of murder and attempted murder. He was also charged with one count of illegal explosives possession and one sentence-enhancement count for allegedly committing a crime of violence.