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James Holmes in court Wednesday, prosecutors ready for preliminary hearing

James Holmes, right, is shown with a bushy beard and his attorney Tamara Brady at a status hearing in Arapahoe County on Jan. 2, 2012. (Sketch: Bill Robles)

James Holmes, right, is shown with a bushy beard and his attorney Tamara Brady at a status hearing in Arapahoe County on Jan. 2, 2012. (Sketch: Bill Robles)

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – Attorneys on both sides say they are ready to proceed with a preliminary hearing for accused Aurora theater gunman James Holmes.

During a status hearing Wednesday morning, prosecutors said they are ready for the crucial hearing next week in which prosecutors will outline their case against Holmes.

The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to put Holmes, who stands accused of killing 12 and wounding 58 at an Aurora movie theater in July, on trial.

It starts Monday and is scheduled the run all week.

Judge William D. Sylvester imposed a gag order back in July limiting the amount of information released regarding the police investigation into the mass shooting. This week will be the first time details about the shooting will be released to the public.

Holmes was quiet during the hearing. His hair, dyed orange when he was arrested, is now back to its original color. He didn’t say anything during the hearing.

During Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors and defense lawyers discussed a sealed motion that made a reference to a witness. Sylvester said he would rule on the motion later in the day, but would not refer to the witnesses by name.

Holmes will hear a summary of the 166 counts against him.

The summary of those 166 charges will include the viewing of 100 exhibits, 911 phone calls and 30 hours of video. It will also include testimony from 70 injured victims.

“There will be very, very specific and probably gruesome detail about what happened and how it happened,” said criminal defense attorney Dan Recht.

The prosecution and the defense will each be allowed two expert witnesses. The prosecution is expected to have two detectives on hand, while the defense is expected to have at least one mental health expert.

“The defense is going to, with good certainty, take the position that he was insane and can’t be found guilty of these crimes,” Recht said.

With all of the new information set to be released next week, the Arapahoe County courthouse is expecting massive crowds.

There will be two courtrooms devoted to Holmes’ preliminary hearing. In all, the court will have a 500-person capacity, with an audio and video feed set up in one courtroom to show the actual proceedings taking place in the other.

Theater offends families with opening plans

Meanwhile, the reopening of the Century Aurora Theater in two weeks is reopening a flood of pain for families of those killed in the massacre this summer.

The theater’s owner, Cinemark, is inviting relatives to a “special remembrance.”

But families of nine of the victims say the invite is a “disgusting offer.”

They say the invitation couldn’t have come at a worse time.

They say in a letter to Cinemark: “During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred.”

 

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