Defense objects to releasing potential Aurora theater juror who is 34 weeks pregnant
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A family friend of a victim in the Columbine High School tragedy and two individuals with connections to eyewitnesses inside the theater were among the prospective jurors discussed during Tuesday’s jury selection hearings in the Aurora theater shooting trial.
One of the more noteworthy objections raised by the defense team representing James Holmes, the admitted gunman in the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting that left 12 dead and 70 injured, was in regard to a pregnant juror. The woman indicated on her jury questionnaire that she was 34 weeks pregnant as of Tuesday, and that she is due to deliver on Mar. 10. The woman also indicated that in past pregnancies, she delivered children during week 36 of her pregnancy.
While Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler offered no objections to dismissing the pregnant juror, the defense team did and insisted she remain in the jury pool.
District Judge Carlos Samour also addressed a motion filed by the Colorado Attorney General to quash one particular subpoena. The motion seemed to catch the prosecution off-guard on Tuesday morning, and the defense team only seemed to have a limited knowledge of it.
It was later revealed that the woman mentioned in the subpoena is an employee with the Colorado Department of Labor. The reason for her subpoena was not disclosed by the court, but both the prosecution and defense indicated they planned to address the motion in more detail on Wednesday.
In total, 70 jurors were dismissed from the pool Tuesday, running the total count to 454. The 9,000 summonses issued in this case make the jury pool one of the largest in U.S. history, and the court suspects it will have 12 jurors for the trial along with 12 alternates by May or June.
Judge Samour said 148 jurors had been called to the Arapahoe County District Court on Tuesday, the largest pool of potential jurors called in one day since jury selection began on Jan. 20.
Of the 70 prospective jurors dismissed Tuesday, one indicated her niece’s son had been grazed in the head by a bullet in the Aurora theater. The defense and prosecution agreed to dismiss the potential juror, along with several others who had issues comprehending English or had moved out of Arapahoe County.
Several juror questions were also introduced into the record Tuesday, including one from a juror who claimed to be best friends with a daughter of Dave Sanders, the teacher and coach killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. The juror also indicated her husband committed suicide with a gun and that she has strong feelings about gun laws as a result of her past experiences.
After a jury is selected, a trial that is expected to last at least six months will begin for Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental insanity. His attorneys are fighting for the death penalty to be removed as a possible sentence.