Advertisement

Jury selection discussed at pre-trial hearing for Aurora theater shooting suspect

Prosecutors, defense say jury selection should be closed in Aurora theater shooting trial because media coverage could taint the pool.

By
Frances Burns
Accused movie theater shooter James Holmes (left) makes his first court appearance at the Arapahoe County Courthouse with his public defender Tamara Brady on July 23, 2012 in Centennial, Colorado. UPI/RJ Sangosti/Pool
Accused movie theater shooter James Holmes (left) makes his first court appearance at the Arapahoe County Courthouse with his public defender Tamara Brady on July 23, 2012 in Centennial, Colorado. UPI/RJ Sangosti/Pool | License Photo

CENTENNIAL, Colo., May 29 (UPI) -- A pool of 6,000 prospective jurors will be called for the trial of Aurora theater-shooting suspect James Holmes, a Colorado judge said Thursday.

District Judge Carlos Samour, Arapahoe County prosecutors and lawyers for Holmes discussed jury selection, which is scheduled for October, during a hearing in Centennial, Colo. Samour delayed ruling on motions to close jury selection to the public and news media, and to ask jurors about their attitudes to an insanity defense.

Advertisement

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding many more when he opened fire during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 at a theater in Aurora, Colo. If he is convicted, the same jury will decide if he should be sentenced to death.

Both sides want jury selection closed, while news organizations have objected. The lawyers say the pool could be tainted by coverage of the details of selection during what is expected to be a long process.

RELATED Families of the Aurora shooting victims angry over insensitive ad

The prosecution objects to asking jurors about the insanity defense. Holmes has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Holmes, who was shackled, remained quiet during the two-hour hearing.

With Holmes facing more than 160 separate counts, including 12 of murder and many more of attempted murder, the trial is expected to take months.

RELATED Judge sets Oct. 14 trial date for Aurora theater massacre trial

"It's not like we do this type of case every day," Samour said Thursday. "I think it's a first for all of us."

Holmes had dropped out of a graduate neuroscience program at the University of Colorado in Aurora a few weeks before the mass shooting.

Last year, prosecutors rejected an agreement that would have allowed Holmes to plead guilty without facing the death penalty.

RELATED Judge orders new psychiatric evaluation for James Holmes

RELATED Police: Bombs in Holmes' apartment forced warrantless search

RELATED Access to suspect's college files ordered

RELATED DA: Holmes changed while failing in school

RELATED Theater suspect to be charged July 30

RELATED Suspect's booby-traps were sophisticated

RELATED Theater survivors tweeted during Dark Knight Rises shooting in Colo.

RELATED Obama calls for prayer, reflection

RELATED 12 dead, 58 injured in Batman shooting

Latest Headlines