News / USA

Preliminary Hearing Underway for US Theater Shooting Suspect

Family members and victims line up to get into court for a preliminary hearing for Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes at the courthouse in Centennial, Colorado, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013.
Family members and victims line up to get into court for a preliminary hearing for Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes at the courthouse in Centennial, Colorado, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013.
VOA News
Prosecutors have started to make their case against the man charged with carrying out a deadly rampage at a U.S. movie theater in July.

The preliminary hearing in the case against 25-year-old James Holmes got underway Monday in the western state of Colorado.  

July 23, 2012: James E. Holmes appears at court in Centennial, Colorado.July 23, 2012: James E. Holmes appears at court in Centennial, Colorado.
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July 23, 2012: James E. Holmes appears at court in Centennial, Colorado.
July 23, 2012: James E. Holmes appears at court in Centennial, Colorado.
Prosecutors have filed more than 160 counts against James Holmes for the shooting attack that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others.  Before the hearing began, people began lining up outside the courthouse, including relatives of the victims.  

The hearing is expected to last a week, with prosecutors publicly outlining their case against Holmes for the first time.  A judge will then decide whether to proceed to trial.

Prosecutors have not yet determined if they will seek the death penalty.

Authorities say Holmes attacked the theater during a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, throwing tear gas canisters inside before opening fire on the audience.

Holmes was a Ph.D. student in neuroscience, but withdrew from his program a month before the shootings.  

His lawyers have said he is mentally ill, and court records indicate they may call witnesses at the preliminary hearing to testify about his mental state.


  • Judy Goos, second from left, hugs her daughter's friend, Isaiah Bow, 20, while eye witnesses Emma Goos, 19, left, and Terrell Wallin, 20, right, gather outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning July 20, 2012 in Denver.
  • Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interviewed by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning after a shooting at a movie theater, in Denver, Colorado, July 20, 2012.
  • Shamecca Davis hugs her son, Isaiah Bow, who was an eye witness to the shooting, outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning in Denver, Colorado, July 20, 2012.
  • Police outside of Century 16 movie theater where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of the movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado July 20, 2012.
  • An Aurora Police officer talks on his radio outside of the Century 16 theater at Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012.
  • Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates talks to media at Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theater, July 20, 2012.
  • A SWAT team officer stands watch near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012.

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