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Entries in Aurora (45)

Tuesday
Mar122013

James Holmes Expected to Enter Plea at Court Hearing

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(DENVER) -- James Holmes will be in a Colorado courtroom on Tuesday, where he is expected to enter a plea to charges stemming from the deadly shooting massacre at a movie theater in Aurora last summer.

Holmes, 25, is charged with 166 counts, including murder, attempted murder and explosives charges, for allegedly opening fire during a crowded midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20.  Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded by gunfire.  Another 12 people sustained other injuries.

It's widely expected that Holmes will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, however, defense attorneys could still ask the judge to delay the arraignment.  Once a plea is entered, the district attorney will have about 60 days to determine if prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

If Holmes pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, he will be immediately committed and court-appointed psychiatrists will determine if Holmes was insane when he allegedly opened fire at the movie theater.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan162013

Accused Aurora Shooter James Holmes' Psychiatrist Sued

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- The psychiatrist who treated accused Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooter James Holmes is being sued by a woman whose husband was among the 12 audience members killed at last July's midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Chantel Blunk, the widow of Jonathan T. Blunk, claims in her lawsuit against Dr. Lynne Fenton that she and five other defendants should have placed Holmes on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.

Blunk alleges that Holmes told Fenton that he "fantasized about killing a lot of people" a month before the shootings.  At the time, Holmes was a graduate student at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus where Fenton worked.

The suit claims Fenton took no other action besides notifying CU's Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team about Holmes.

In fact, Blunk also states that when a campus police officer asked if Holmes should be put in psychiatric hold, Fenton allegedly rejected the idea.

University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said "the university believes the lawsuit is not well-founded legally or factually" and has hired attorneys to defend Fenton.

Holmes faces 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan112013

Aurora Shooting Suspect James Holmes Can Face Trial

RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- In a ruling that comes as little surprise, the judge overseeing the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre has ruled that there is enough evidence against James Holmes to proceed to a trial.

In an order posted late Thursday, Judge William Sylvester wrote that “the People have carried their burden of proof and have established that there is probable cause to believe that Defendant committed the crimes charged.”

The ruling came after a three-day preliminary hearing this week that revealed new details about how Holmes allegedly planned for and carried out the movie theater shooting, including how investigators say he amassed an arsenal of guns and ammunition, how he booby-trapped his apartment to explode, and his bizarre behavior after his arrest.

Holmes is charged with 166 counts, including murder, attempted murder and other charges related to the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded by gunfire. An additional 12 people suffered non-gunshot injuries.

One of the next legal steps is an arraignment, at which Holmes will enter a plea. The arraignment was originally expected to take place Friday morning.

Judge Sylvester indicated through a court spokesman that he would allow television and still cameras into the courtroom, providing the outside world the first images of Holmes since a July 23 hearing. Plans for cameras in court, however, were put on hold Thursday afternoon.

“The defense has notified the district attorney that it is not prepared to proceed to arraignment in this case by Friday,” wrote public defenders Daniel King, Tamara Brady and Kristen Nelson Thursday afternoon in a document objecting to cameras in court.

A hearing in the case still will take place Friday morning, but since it will no longer be an arraignment, cameras will not be allowed.

Holmes’ attorneys have said in court that the former University of Colorado neuroscience student is mentally ill. The district attorney overseeing the case has not yet announced whether Holmes, now 25, can face the death penalty.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

James Holmes Legally Bought Arsenal of Guns, Chemicals

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- Accused Aurora, Colo., shooter James Holmes legally bought thousands of bullets, explosive chemicals and four guns months before prosecutors say he opened fire on a crowded movie theater, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent testified on Tuesday.

The agent testified on the second day of a preliminary hearing, which is essentially a mini-trial as prosecutors present witness testimony and evidence to outline their case against the former neuroscience student.

Agent Steve Beggs gave the prosecution a timeline that showed Holmes started his buying spree on May 10, 2012 with the online purchase of tear gas grenades.  From then until July 14, Beggs testified, Holmes legally bought nearly 6,300 rounds of ammunition, two Glock .40 caliber pistols, a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle, a 12-guage shotgun, ballistic protection clothing, beam laser lights, bomb-making material and handcuffs.  Some of the purchases were made online and some were made in person.

Video surveillance taken as Holmes was buying several of the items in person showed that he had what Beggs described as “reddish-orange hair” at the time.  Holmes hair was dyed the same striking color at the time of the shooting.

Holmes’ defense attorney Tamara Brady asked Beggs if there is a legal process to keep from selling these items legally in Colorado to a “severely mentally ill person.”  Beggs answered that there is not.

The hearing at the Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo., could last all week.  Judge William Sylvester will decide whether the case will go to trial.  

Holmes’ attorneys have not yet said whether they plan on using a insanity defense, in which case Holmes could possibly be deemed unfit to stand trial.  Another possibility is that the hearing could set the stage for a plea deal.

If the case does not go to trial, this week’s hearing could be the only opportunity for public testimony and release of information in a case where gag orders and sealed documents have kept much of the evidence and information away from the public.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan072013

Accused Aurora Shooter James Holmes Bought Ticket 12 Days Before Shooting

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- Accused Aurora movie theater gunman James Holmes bought his movie ticket 12 days before the shooting, it was revealed in court Monday during the emotional first day of a preliminary hearing.

Aurora Police Department homicide detective Matthew Ingui testified that there is no video surveillance of the actual shooting, but there are several photos of Holmes checking into the theater kiosk with his cellphone. He scanned his phone three times.

Surveillance footage shown in court for the first time also showed Holmes lingering by the concession stand for about three minutes before entering theater nine dressed in dark pants, a light colored shirt and a skull cap. He would later be caught wearing a bulletproof vest and a gas mask.

Another video showed the lobby the moment theater staff heard shots ring out. Some of them ducked behind counters as people started streaming out of the front door.

Ingui also testified about the positions of the bodies in the theater, strewn across seats and aisles.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens more in the movie theater massacre.

Earlier in the day, two veteran police officers broke down on the stand, with one officer choking up when he described finding the body of a 6-year-old girl inside the theater.

Sgt. Gerald Jonsgaard needed a moment to compose himself as he described finding the little girl, Veronica Moser Sullivan, in the blood-splattered theater.

An officer felt for a pulse and thought Veronica was still alive, Jonsgaard said, but the officer then realized he was feeling his own pulse.

The officers wiped away tears as they described the horror they found inside of theater nine.

Officer Justin Grizzle recounted seeing bodies lying motionless on the floor, surrounded by so much blood he nearly slipped and fell.

Grizzle, a former paramedic, says ambulances had not yet made it to the theater, so he began loading victims into his patrol car and driving to the hospital.

"I knew I needed to get them to the hospital now, " Grizzle said, tearing up. "I didn't want anyone else to die."

Grizzle drove six victims in four trips, saying that by the end there was so much blood in his patrol car he could hear it "sloshing around."

An officer who took the stand earlier Monday described Holmes as "relaxed" and "detached" when police confronted him just moments after the shooting stopped.

The first two officers to testify Monday described responding to the theater and spotting Holmes standing by his car at the rear of the theater on July 20, 2012. He allegedly opened fire in the crowded theater during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

Officer Jason Oviatt said he first thought Holmes was a cop because he was wearing a gas mask and helmet, but as he got closer realized he was not an officer and held Holmes at gunpoint.

Throughout the search and arrest, Holmes was extremely compliant, the officer said.

"He was very, very relaxed," Oviatt said. "These were not normal reactions to anything. He seemed very detached from it all."

Oviatt said Holmes had extremely dilated pupils and smelled badly when he was arrested.

Officer Aaron Blue testified that Holmes volunteered that he had four guns and that there were "improvised explosive devices" in his apartment and that they would go off if the police triggered them.

Holmes was dressed for the court hearing in a red jumpsuit and has brown hair and a full beard. He did not show any reaction when the officers pointed him out in the courtroom.

This is the most important court hearing in the case so far, essentially a mini-trial as prosecutors present witness testimony and evidence -- some never before heard -- to outline their case against the former neuroscience student.

The hearing at the Arapahoe County District Court could last all week. At the end, Judge William Sylvester will decide whether the case will go to trial.

Prosecutors say they will present potentially gruesome photos and videos in addition to 911 calls from the night of the shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded. They will aim to convince the judge that there is enough evidence against Holmes to proceed to a trial.

It is expected that the prosecution's witnesses will include the Aurora police lead detective, first responders, the coroner and a computer forensic specialist.

In an unusual move, defense attorneys may call two witnesses. Last week, the judge ruled that Holmes can call the witnesses to testify on his "mental state," but it is not clear who the witnesses are.

A court-imposed gag order days after the shooting has kept many of the details under wraps, so much of the information could be new to the public.

Holmes has been charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of explosives and crime of violence. The district attorney has not decided whether to seek the death penalty, and Holmes' defense team believes Holmes is mentally ill. He has not entered a plea.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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

Saturday
Jan052013

Aurora Townhouse Shooting: Four Dead, Including Gunman

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- Four people were killed, including the gunman, during a hostage standoff Saturday morning at a townhouse in Aurora, Colo., police said.

Police pumped tear gas into the home in an attempt to get the gunman to leave, and then went into the home and shot him, ABC News Denver affiliate KMGH-TV reported.

The three people found dead in the home are believed to be relatives of the shooter, Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson told KMGH. A fourth person was found unharmed, she said.

Officers responded to the home after the first reports of gunshots came in around 3 a.m.

Carlson said neighboring residences were evacuated while the SWAT team attempted to resolve the standoff.

The Colorado town was the site of a movie theater massacre last July. A gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan022013

Aurora Shooting Victims’ Families Outraged by Invitation to Re-Opening

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images(AURORA, Colo.) -- Families of many of the victims killed in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre are calling an invitation to attend “a special evening of remembrance” when the multiplex re-opens later this month “disgusting” and “offensive.”

In a letter to the theater owner, Cinemark USA Inc., family members of nine of the murdered victims say the invitation to attend the event was ill-timed, at best. They are calling for a boycott of the theater.

“During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred,” the letter says.

On July 20, James Holmes allegedly opened fire inside a crowded midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded. Holmes has not yet entered a plea.

An official with Plano, Texas-based Cinemark USA Inc. told ABC News Wednesday that the company has no comment on the letter from the families.

“I was appalled at their lack of sensitivity. It’s very upsetting,” Mary Ellen Hansen told ABC News. Hansen is the great-aunt of six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, who was killed in the attack. Hansen’s niece, Ashley Moser — Veronica’s mother — was paralyzed in the shooting and suffered a miscarriage.

“It’s been a horrible holiday season, and this letter came on my birthday, Dec. 27, which made it even worse,” said Tom Teves, who lost his son Alex in the July 20 shooting.

Family members of the victims say they received the invitation through the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance to attend the Jan. 17 re-opening, followed by the screening of a movie.  The film was not specified.

“Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling,” the families wrote. They said they “will be using every social media tool at our disposal to ask the other victims to ask their friends and family to honor us by boycotting the killing field of our children.”

Several lawsuits have already been filed against Cinemark by families of the victims killed as well as some theatergoers wounded that night, citing inadequate security at the theater.

A preliminary hearing in Holmes’ case is scheduled for Monday.

HERE IS THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER:


To the Management of Cinemark USA, Inc.:

During the holiday we didn’t think anyone or anything could make our grief worse but you, Cinemark, have managed to do just that by sending us an invitation two days after Christmas inviting us to attend the re-opening of your theater in Aurora where our loved ones were massacred. Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful.

You (Cinemark) has shown, and continues to show, ZERO compassion to the families of the victims whose loved ones were killed in their theater. You, Cinemark, have never once reached out to the families to offer condolences.

This disgusting offer that you’d “like to invite you and a guest to a special evening of remembrance on Thursday, January 17 at 5 PM" followed by the showing of a movie and then telling us to be sure “to reserve our tickets" is wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones.

Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling.

You (Cinemark) refused our repeated invitations to speak parent to parent with no lawyers involved. Instead, we get invited to attend a “special evening of remembrance” at the very theater where our loved ones lay dead on the floor for over 15 hours. We would give anything to wipe the carnage of that night out of our minds’ eye. Thank you for reminding us how your quest for profits has blinded your leadership and made you so callous as to be oblivious to our mental anguish.

We, the families, recognize your thinly veiled publicity ploy for what it is: A great opportunity for you to distance yourselves and divert public scrutiny from your culpability in this massacre.

After reading our response to your ridiculously offensive invitation, you now know why we will not be attending your re-opening celebration and will be using every social media tool at our disposal to ask the other victims to ask their friends and family to honor us by boycotting the killing field of our children.

The Families of the Aurora Cinemark Theatre Massacre

Thomas Teves (father of Alex Teves)

Caren Teves (mother of Alex Teves)

Sandy Phillips (mother of Jessica Ghawi)

Lonnie Phillips (stepfather of Jessica Ghawi)

Jerri Jackson (mother of Matt McQuinn)

Greg Medek (father of Micayla Medek)

Rena Medek (mother of Micayla Medek)

Anita Busch (cousin of Greg and Micayla Medek)

Robert Wingo, (father of Rebecca Ann Wingo’s two children)

Scott Larimer (father of John Larimer)

Kathleen Larimer (mother of John Larimer)

Jessica Watts (cousin of Jonathan Blunk)

Robert Sullivan (grandfather of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Sue Sullivan (grandmother of Veronica Moser-Sullivan)

Cassandra Sullivan (widow of Alex Sullivan)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan022013

Accused Colorado Shooter James Holmes Appears in Court

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(AURORA, Colo.) -- Accused Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James Holmes appeared in court Wednesday, where a judge set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 7 that is expected to last several days.

Hundreds of people including witnesses, victims and families are expected to attend.

Prosecutors say part of the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing will include recordings of calls to 911 and approximately 30 hours of video from inside the Century 16 multiplex.

Holmes was in court Wednesday, his brown hair slightly grown out and now wearing a full beard.  He did not speak and sat quietly at the defense table.

Both sides told judge William Sylvester that they are ready to proceed on Jan. 7.

At a preliminary hearing, prosecutors must convince the judge there is enough evidence against Holmes to proceed to a trial.  As part of that process, law enforcement investigators are expected to testify about details of the case that have never been revealed before.

The preliminary hearing will be held in the largest courtroom available in Arapahoe County, Colorado, 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.

Holmes is accused of murdering 12 people and wounding 58 others when he allegedly opened fire at a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.  His defense team believes Holmes is mentally ill.  He has not entered a plea.

The theater where the shooting occurred is set to reopen on Jan. 17.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

James Holmes, Accused Aurora Theater Shooter, Tried to Harm Himself, Sources Say

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(AURORA, Colo.) -- Accused Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James Holmes, 24, was taken to the hospital Tuesday after he tried to harm himself by ramming his head into the wall of his jail cell, sources told ABC News.

Holmes was taken from his jail cell to a hospital for treatment and is now back in his cell, the sources said. He is able to move and talk.

In a hearing Wednesday, Holmes’ defense attorneys said their client was in no condition to appear in court Thursday but would not say why.

Arapahoe County District Judge William B. Sylvester granted a continuance and postponed the Thursday hearing until Dec. 10.

Holmes has been charged with killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 people after he opened fire inside a movie theater July 20. He has yet to enter a plea.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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