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Monday
Jan072013

Preliminary Hearing Starts for Accused Colorado Shooter James Holmes

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- A preliminary hearing for accused Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James Holmes is set to begin Monday morning in Centennial, Colo.  Hundreds of people including witnesses, victims and families are expected to attend.

The hearing will essentially be a mini-trial in which prosecutors will present witness testimony and evidence -- some of which has never been revealed before -- to convince Judge William Sylvester that there is enough of a case against Holmes to proceed to a trial.

Witnesses to be called for the prosecution include the Aurora police lead detective, first responders, the Arapahoe County coroner and likely a computer forensic specialist, according to prosecution sources who declined to be identified, citing a gag order in the case.

A top priority, the prosecution sources say, will be showing that Holmes acted with premeditation when he allegedly murdered 12 people and wounded 58 on the night of July 20 during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

Defense attorneys may pursue a legal strategy to show that Holmes was not in his right mind at the time of the shooting.

Holmes, who has not yet entered a plea, has been repeatedly described in court by his legal team as mentally ill. While a graduate student at the University of Colorado, he was in the care of a psychiatrist.

Prosecutors say they will also present photos, video and 911 calls during the hearing, which is expected to last all week.

The preliminary hearing will be held in the largest courtroom available in Arapahoe County, which holds about 100 people.  Overflow crowds will be able to watch the proceeding on a video and audio feed in several rooms around the court complex, including a jury assembly room that has space for about 300 people.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio