James Holmes's attorneys ask judge to move theater shooting trial out of Arapahoe County

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Should the trial of Aurora theater shooter James Holmes be held in Arapahoe County, where the crime occurred? No, say Holmes's attorneys. In a motion made public this week (and on view below), they request a change of venue, arguing that the citizens of Arapahoe County have a "unique and tangible connection to this case" that would make it difficult for them to be impartial. In addition, Holmes's attorneys say, the "massive, pervasive and prejudicial" media coverage of the case -- much of it focused on the suffering of the victims -- has tainted the jury pool.

"The pretrial news coverage has been at best consistent and comprehensive," Holmes's attorneys write in the motion. "At worst, the media has been incessant and unrelenting."

An analysis by Dr. Bryan Edelman, a trial consultant with the California-based firm Trial Innovations, found that between the date of the theater shooting -- July 20, 2012 -- and November 9, 2013, the Denver Post printed 896 articles that referenced the shooting. Many of the stories, Edelman found, focused on the victims and their families. The same was true for television station 9News and the weekly Aurora Sentinel.

"In covering the good and courageous things the victims have done," Holmes's attorneys write in the motion, "the coverage often simplistically and inaccurately implied that Mr. Holmes was 'evil,' as opposed to mentally ill."

Holmes is accused of killing twelve people and injuring seventy more by opening fire during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at the Aurora Century 16 theater. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His trial is scheduled to begin in October.

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes and public defender Daniel King in court in June 2013.
The defense's motion also takes a close look at the Aurora Sentinel's coverage. Holmes's attorneys note that the Sentinel posted about 600 stories online between July 20, 2012 and March 31, 2014, and ran more than 215 stories in print. The paper even has a special tab on its website called, "MASSACRE COVERAGE," the attorneys point out.

The media coverage has been in-depth, Holmes's attorneys argue, including "graphic and sensational firsthand accounts" of the crime and "blow-by-blow" reporting of the preliminary hearing, at which the prosecution presented some of its evidence. And they don't like how Holmes -- or his defense -- has been portrayed.

"On numerous occasions, the legitimate defense of insanity was not described as such," they write. "Rather, it was described as Mr. Holmes's 'best hope of avoiding the death penalty, and possibly his only hope, given the weight of the evidence.'"

Continue for more on Holmes's motion for a change of venue.


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10 comments
Andy Martin
Andy Martin

They aren't going to get the death penalty as the dude is obviously mentally ill and he will never be set free so what is the holdup?

Tarayn Marissa
Tarayn Marissa

Fair AND SPEEDY trial. Where is the speed here!? THIS IS BASICALLY A CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT FOR THE VICTIMS, THEIR FRIENDS, AND FAMILIES!!!

Chris Martinez
Chris Martinez

Change of venue ? He's not a celebrity.... He shot and killed/injured innocent people why be cause he mentally ill ? Yah right the dude should be burned like a " witch " if he's that crazy those families need closure ... Not the notion that he's gonna be on trial for 4 more fucking years ... Idiots.

Justin Kershman
Justin Kershman

Just kill the fucker and quit wasting our tax money on a waste of oxygen!

Josh Nadler
Josh Nadler

It's still going on because the DA didn't want to take a guilty plea for life without parole. They'd rather have a long trial and years of appeals wasting taxpayer money to get the same result of him dying in prison.

Mike Carr
Mike Carr

Why is this even still going on. Just wasting our money on the fuckin psycho. They know he did it. He said he did it. End of Story... Fry his ass!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

They don't have much of a defense, therefore they figure the longer they can postpone a trial the better off they will be.  

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