Aurora theater shooting hearing: James Holmes's eyes lit up, said victim's dad
Editor's note: Melanie Asmar is covering today's preliminary hearing into the July 20 Aurora theater shooting allegedly committed by James Holmes. The latest update is immediately below, followed by previous coverage.
More photos below.
January 7, 5:28 p.m.: The final portion of the hearing began with testimony by the two forensic pathologists who performed autopsies on the twelve people who died in the shooting.
First to speak was Dr. Kelly Lear-Kaul. She and her colleague, Arapahoe County coroner Michael Doberson, each performed autopsies on six of the twelve victims. They talked about where each victim was shot, how many times they were struck, and the injury that proved fatal for each.
For example, Veronica Moser-Sullivan -- at age six, the youngest victim -- was shot a total of four times.
In cross-examining Doberson and Lear-Kaul, Daniel King, Holmes's defense attorney, raised an unusual subject in relation to their conclusion that the manner of each death was homicide. King wanted it made clear that the homicide ruling would not preclude a jury from finding that Holmes was insane at the time of the incident.
"You're not rendering an opinion on what the mental state of that person was?" King asked Doberson, to which the coroner replied, "No."
The pathologists were followed to the stand by Aurora Detective Todd Fredericksen, who testified about interviewing several of the victims in the days and weeks after the July 20 shooting. He noted that one person wound up losing his leg because of the attack, while both Ashley Moser, mother of Veronica Moser-Sullivan, and Steffon Moton, one of the last victims named, were left paralyzed by their injuries.
Fredericksen also provided an extremely graphic description of what happened to Farrah Soudani, whose enormous medical costs were defrayed in part by donors from the website theCHIVE.com.
Soudani survived and was at the courthouse for the hearing, although not in the courtroom itself. Instead, she stayed in an overflow room where the proceedings were broadcast on a video monitor. The reason, according to her father, Sam Soudani, who did sit in the courtroom, was because "she does not want to see" Holmes.
After a long and difficult day of wrenching testimony, Sam Soudani was emotionally spent. "I don't know if I could come tomorrow," he said, referencing "the agony of sitting and watching."
Holmes did not appear to be especially engaged at today's hearing. There weren't any regular conversations between him and his counsel, for instance. But Tom Teves, whose son Alex Teves died at the Aurora Century 16, said at the hearing's conclusion that he thought Holmes's eyes lit up when prosecutors described what had taken place.
Teves subsequently called the accused shooter a "coward," but stressed that the testimony was "not about Holmes. It was about the police, who took care of those poor people."
Continue for more coverage of today's Aurora theater shooting preliminary hearing.