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Aurora theater shooting trial to begin after three years

By Andrew V. Pestano
Aurora theater shooting trial to begin after three years
Accused movie theater shooter James Holmes, left, is scheduled to go on trial April 27, 2015 File Photo by UPI/RJ Sangosti. | License Photo

CENTENNIAL, Colo., April 27 (UPI) -- Opening statements are set to begin on Monday for the trial of James Holmes, charged in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, after almost three years of delays.

Holmes faces 165 charges. Twelve people were killed and 70 were injured when he opened fire in July 2012 during a midnight showing of "The Dark Night Rises" at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater in Aurora, Colo.

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Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in this case, making the trial legally complicated. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His motives for the shooting remain unknown. Friends and classmates previously described him as increasingly detached.

Holmes looked for psychiatric help about a month before he stormed into the movie theater.

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Tom Teves lost his son Alex that day. Teves said his son had to make a split-second decision to protect his girlfriend.

"He had to make a choice to save his girlfriend and die, or let her die. That's not a choice you should have to make at a movie," Teves told NPR. "On a good night, I don't wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning, doubled over in pain that I'm never going to see my son again."

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Alex, 24, was shot and killed and his girlfriend lived.

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District Attorney George Brauchler warned the potential jurors they would experience a "horrible four to five month roller coaster through the worst haunted house you can imagine."

The jurors will not only determine if Holmes is guilty but if he should be sentenced to death.

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