James Holmes: Not-guilty plea entered in Aurora theater shooting
Update below: James Holmes, the suspect in the July 20 shooting at an Aurora movie theater that killed twelve people and wounded seventy others, was widely expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity at an arraignment hearing today.
Instead, Judge William Sylvester entered a not-guilty plea for Holmes -- although Holmes can potentially change this designation in the future. Sylvester also set a trial date of August 5, as well as numerous other hearings over the next several months.
The hearing was scheduled to get under way at 9 a.m., but it was delayed approximately half an hour due to the late arrival of Daniel King, Holmes's lawyer, presumably due to weather-related traffic problems.
Once the hearing got started, King told the court that Holmes's legal team was not ready to enter a plea and asked Sylvester to postpone the arraignment for a few months -- perhaps until May 1, possibly June 1. "I don't think we could ethically stand before you and say we're ready to enter a plea," King stated.
Photo by Sam Levin Attorney Daniel King.
He added that the defense still had a great many questions about, among other things, a mental evaluation of Holmes and how it could be used against him in a possible death-penalty proceeding. But even if the court had answered all of these questions to the defense's satisfaction, King went on, Holmes's lawyers still might not have been ready to enter a plea today.
King also pointed out that Holmes's attorneys had retained experts who are currently working on his behalf and making progress, but they haven't completed their tasks. However, he didn't elaborate, saying, "We can't get into it in open court."
These comments were not well received in the overflow room at the courthouse, where a considerable number of victims watched the hearing on a closed-circuit monitor. When King asked for a delay, a number of people sighed, with several shaking their head.
Prosecutor Karen Pearson subsequently objected to postponing the arraignment -- and when she did so, one woman in the overflow room whispered, "Thank God."
Continue for more about the arraignment in the Aurora theater shooting case.