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100 jurors excused from Aurora theater shooting trial Thursday

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A view of the jury box, right, inside Courtroom 201, where jury selection in the trial of Aurora movie theater shootings defendant James Holmes is to begin on Jan. 20, 2015, at the Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo., Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015.

A view of the jury box, right, inside Courtroom 201, where jury selection in the trial of Aurora movie theater shootings defendant James Holmes came to a close on April 14, at the Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo. (Photo: Brennan Linsley, pool)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — In total, 100 jurors were excused from the Aurora theater shooting case before the Arapahoe County District Court moved for a recess on Thursday. Most of those jurors were dismissed from a larger pool of jurors who completed questionnaires earlier in the week.

Of the jurors who were officially dismissed Thursday, several indicated they were close friends of the 12 homicide victims gunned down by James Holmes in the July 20, 2012 shooting. The admitted gunman appeared during the proceedings Thursday in a burgundy sweater and tan pants.

During the afternoon sessions, several jurors were dismissed due to a lack of fluency in English. During the morning session, one juror was excused after he filed a request for privacy to fill out his questionnaire — a request that indicated he was an Aurora Police officer, and another juror was excused after she indicated she suffers from panic attacks and was worried the condition could be heightened by the case.

Over 9,000 jury summonses were issued for Holmes’ trial. This week’s dismissals are part of a process that may last until May or June. The process will continue on Friday at 8:40 a.m.

Before reading the numbers of the dismissed jurors Thursday morning, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler indicated he would rather not divulge his reasoning. In particular, Brauchler said he was worried the information would offer potential future jurors a “road map” for how to avoid selection.

Brauchler joked he expected the “good looking, diligent members of the media” in attendance at Thursday’s hearing would cover those details thoroughly.

Though he agreed to Brauchler’s request not to read his reasons for dismissing jurors aloud Thursday, District Judge Carlos Samour did indicate that the information would have to go on record. Brauchler suggested, and Holmes’ defense team agreed, that the information could be provided in writing. Brauchler also said his department might file a motion to suppress that information at a future date.

After receiving several questions on juror questionnaires regarding the Century Aurora 16 movie theater in Aurora, which one juror referred to as her “home movie theater,” Samour advised the court to inform all jurors that they would not be able to attend movies at the theater should they be selected for the jury, as it was in fact the scene of the crime in this case.

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