James Holmes: preliminary hearing begins in the Aurora shootings case


The Century 16 Theatre where a masked gunman killed 14 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado July 20, 2012. A masked gunman killed 14 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in a suburb of Denver early on Friday, sparking pandemonium when he hurled a teargas canister into the auditorium and opened fire on moviegoers.



A preliminary hearing to decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to put James Holmes on trial for killing 12 people and wounding 58 others during a shooting spree at a cinema in Aurora, Colo., in July began today, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters:

The preliminary hearing in the case is expected to last a week and offer the public its first detailed account of the investigation into one of the most chilling and deadly mass shootings in US history.

Officer Jason Oviatt, the first witness called by prosecutors, said that Holmes "immediately put his hands up" and "seemed very detached from it all” when policemen arrived on the scene, Reuters reported. Holmes was wearing full body armor, a gas mask and a helmet, Oviatt told the court.

Officer James Grizzle told the court that the theater floor was covered in blood after the massacre, Time Magazine reported. “I slipped. I almost fell down because of all the blood there,” he said.

Aurora Police Det. Matthew Inqui said witnesses told him that the shooter was calm as he walked up and down the aisles, the Los Angeles Times reported. Inqui also presented video from the theater’s surveillance cameras that shows Holmes handing his ticket to a ticket agent and walking to Theater 9 as well as dozens of movie-goers fleeing the theater after the shooting started, the LA Times reported.

Holmes, 25, a former University of Colorado doctoral student, had no discernable reactions to the testimony, Reuters reported.

It is expected that Holmes' lawyers will present an insanity defense, the LA Times reported.

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