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Huge jury pool sought as Colorado prepares for James Holmes trial

October 07, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • Aurora, Colo., theater shooting suspect James E. Holmes in court this summer.
Aurora, Colo., theater shooting suspect James E. Holmes in court this summer. (Andy Cross / Denver Post )

Colorado will send as many as 6,000 juror summonses for the James E. Holmes murder trial in an effort to choose a 12-person jury and 12 alternates in the Aurora theater rampage case, officials said Monday.

Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. told a court hearing that he would issue 1,000 more summonses than he had earlier announced and would expand the number of alternates in preparation for the trial, which is scheduled to begin in February, according to the Associated Press.

Holmes faces 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other charges in the July 20, 2012, shooting at a screening of "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises." He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Twelve people were killed and more than 70 others injured.

Both sides are trying to work through hundreds of pretrial motions in the complicated case, which riveted the nation and became one of the incidents that touched off a national debate on gun control. Since the shooting, Colorado has toughened some of its requirements on gun and ammunition ownership.

On Monday, prosecutors received Holmes' mental health records from the state hospital and the University of Colorado, according to the Associated Press.

Before the shooting, Holmes had reportedly contacted a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado-Denver, where he was studying for a doctorate in neuroscience. He recently was examined by state doctors.

Prosecutors had sought all of Holmes' medical and mental health records from the hospital and the university, but the judge ruled that they were entitled only to the mental health materials.

If convicted, Holmes could face the death penalty. In an insanity case in Colorado, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was sane at the moment of the crime.

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