CENTENNIAL, Colo. – A judge on Friday delayed the arraignment of James E. Holmes to March after the defense in the Colorado movie theater massacre case said it needed more time to prepare a plea.
During a 15-minute proceeding, Judge William Sylvester set March 12 for the arraignment of Holmes on 166 criminal counts in connection with the July 20 attack on a movie theater in Aurora. Twelve people were killed and at least 70 wounded.
After three days of evidence this week, Sylvester on Thursday night ruled the prosecution had established probable cause to hold a trial of Holmes, 25. The judge had set Friday for a status hearing and possible arraignment.
PHOTOS: Colorado movie theater shooting
But the defense on Thursday had argued it needed more time to prepare for an arraignment and asked for a delay.
The delay angered many of the relatives of the victims, who have often openly wept this week but have maintained decorum. The prosecution said that 84 of 93 contacted relatives or victims opposed any delay in the arraignment.
“Rot in hell, Holmes,” shouted one person identified as Steven Hernandez, father of one of the those who was shot to death. The judge reconvened the proceeding as deputies brought the man to the front.
WHO THEY WERE: Aurora theater shooting
Hernandez is the father of Rebecca Wingo, 32, who was killed in the theater. Wingo was a student at a community college working toward an associate degree.
“I’m terribly sorry for your loss,” Sylvester told Hernandez. “I can’t begin to imagine the emotions that are raging.”
“I meant no disrespect to the court or to you,” he said.
TIMELINE: U.S. mass shootings
Sylvester said he would allow Hernandez to attend other proceedings but warned the audience, “I really, really do not want to have any outbursts.”
In seeking the delay, attorney Tamara Brady said the defense needed preparation time.
“It will take up until March to research the appropriate plea in this case,” she said.
Defense attorneys have already indicated that Holmes, a former neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Colorado-Denver, is mentally ill.
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