James Holmes trial now scheduled to begin December 8

Thumbnail image for daniel.king.talks.to.james.holmes.565x300.jpg
Andy Cross/Denver Post
James Holmes and defense attorney Daniel King in court in June 2013.
The trial of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes is now scheduled to begin on December 8. Judge Carlos Samour set that date at a hearing today over objections from Holmes's attorneys, who argued that it wouldn't give them enough time to analyze a second sanity evaluation of Holmes that's due by October 15. "If we have to adjust, we'll do it," Samour said -- though he insisted on keeping the December trial date.

Also discussed at today's hearing was whether the psychiatrist tasked with completing that second sanity evaluation should be allowed to videotape the exam.

See also: James Holmes videotaped 24 hours a day, seven days a week since his arrest, letter says

The psychiatrist, whose name was not revealed in court, testified via telephone. He said that the positives of videotaping the exam outweigh any potential negatives. "It is more accurate and it is more complete," he said of videotaped evaluations.

Holmes's attorneys object to the videotaping. They wrote in a motion earlier this month that they're concerned about "the chilling effect" a camera could have on Holmes. Today, they argued that at least one study has shown that recording evaluations affects the outcome, though that study wasn't focused on sanity examinations.

But the psychiatrist said there are several benefits to videotaping the evaluation, including that it would allow him to pay more attention to Holmes rather than being distracted by taking notes, that a videotape is more reliable than handwritten notes, that "errors and omissions are easier to spot and harder to hide" on video and that a videotape could reassure Holmes that the evaluation will be honest and credible.

The psychiatrist noted that the first sanity evaluation of Holmes, which the judge deemed "inadequate," was not videotaped. That exam was done by a different doctor.

For Holmes's second evaluation, the psychiatrist said he'd likely place a camera in the room as far from Holmes as possible, so as to be unobtrusive. The video equipment would be set up by a professional videographer, the psychiatrist said, but the videographer would not be present for the evaluation, nor would he or she listen in.

Samour said he expects to decide in the next few days whether to allow the videotaping.

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Andy Cross/Denver Post
A June 2013 photo of the courtroom where today's hearing took place.
Two potential expert witnesses -- one a metallurgist and another a gunshot residue analyst -- also testified at today's hearing. Holmes's attorneys are seeking to prevent them from testifying at trial. Today, the defense questioned the reliability and accuracy of the science that they rely on to reach their conclusions.

Much of the testimony was technical. However, a few interesting details were revealed. For instance, Carol Crowe, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation gunshot residue analyst, said she tested three things: a gas mask, a pair of gloves and swabs from Holmes's hands and face. All three tested positive for gunshot residue, she said.

But Crowe said that doesn't mean Holmes definitely fired a gun. It could also mean that he was near someone who fired a gun or that he touched something that had gunshot residue on it. Holmes attorney Katherine Spengler pointed out that studies have shown gunshot residue has been found in the backs of police cars and on tables in police interrogation rooms -- both of which are places Holmes could have been.

Spengler also revealed that Holmes wasn't swabbed for gunshot residue until 7:55 a.m. on July 20, nearly eight hours after the just-past-midnight shooting. In addition, she suggested that the gas mask and gloves could have been contaminated by coming into contact with other evidence and people.

However, in a motion filed last year, Holmes's attorneys admitted that he "committed the acts" that occurred on July 20, 2012. They wrote that Holmes "suffers from a severe mental illness and was in the throes of a psychotic episode when he committed the acts that resulted in the tragic loss of life and injuries sustained by moviegoers."

Holmes, whose parents attended today's hearing, is accused of killing twelve people and injuring seventy more by opening fire inside an Aurora movie theater. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. If he's convicted, he could face the death penalty.


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com


My Voice Nation Help
85 comments
Stephanie Ann Hast-Clow
Stephanie Ann Hast-Clow

This is over the death penalty....give the shooter life and let his fellow inmates take care of him....real justice. I want him to know terror when he does. Death penalty is too good for him.

Rodger Mathena
Rodger Mathena

Its been delayed enough, thats for sure! Sick of these lawyers taking advantage of the system, and pushing it back over and over!

Titania K Gasca
Titania K Gasca

My son almost died that day.. if I had him in front of me I'll bite him to death (bites hurt a lot)

Jana Goff Tweedy
Jana Goff Tweedy

This is fucking ridiculous. How many mental evaluations does this murderer need? Quit wasting money and time and fry this bastard already.

Mike Wall
Mike Wall

Wtf it's been delayed long enough!!

Septimius Prime
Septimius Prime

Long enough... Bet the cops that arrested him are kicking themselves, shoulda just blasted his ass! Give him the sentence, take him out back and finish him... Let him beg a little first, then click-click, back of the head... 5¢ to the taxpayers, end of trial.

Sally O'Hare
Sally O'Hare

It has been 2 years, how much more time do they need to prepare? Not fair to the victim's and their families to make them wait any more.

Amanda Jimenez
Amanda Jimenez

Shouldn't victims also have the right to a speedy trial?

Anthony Aberle
Anthony Aberle

Except for Desiree this is the worst liberal bullsh!t comment section I have seen thus far. You guys are ruining this country.

Christy Young
Christy Young

He's had his due process, where's the victims right to a speedy trial? Stop pushing it out and get it over with so they can attempt to move forward with their lives. He's guilty, it's known. He's admitted it. Why didn't they determine competency within days of arresting him? Why all the waiting? Let's do this

Jessica Gonzalez
Jessica Gonzalez

So I take it you're a psychologist and sat with him personally????

Anthony Aberle
Anthony Aberle

Guy should of got the death penalty already. Why are we trying to prove he's crazy? We all know he's crazy and deserves to die.

Justin Kershman
Justin Kershman

Somebody in County needs to get at punk a add a few more holes to his bitch ass!

Jon Ackelson
Jon Ackelson

The trial has been delayed too long, the games have been set up, many people have received huge sums of money all at the expense of the families of the victims and you and I. Get on with it all ready!

Bekki Marsh
Bekki Marsh

Too bad his victims were not able to push back their demise! The defense team should be ashamed of themselves! They could not possibly accomplish anything from a trial other than more heartache! They are in it for fame and fortune. Let the victims families have some closure and advise the defense team to stop being morally bankrupt! A real attorney would simply try to get him the mental help he so direly needs and plea to avoid death.

Tami Gibson
Tami Gibson

should just give him the chair already

Megan Munzert
Megan Munzert

The families of the deceased deserve closure and that is for damn sure.

Paul Black
Paul Black

This has already taken far too long. If they couldn't determine his psychological status in the first six months of captivity, then shame on the prosecution for allowing this to drag on for this amount of time. Holmes will likely be in solitary confinement for the rest of his natural life anyway, and at our expense.

Michael Hartman
Michael Hartman

It's been long overdue and he has received too much media attention. But due process is crucial in a judicial process. My big qualm is that we had a massive discussion on gun control after the fact, but next to no discussion on the meds he was on, a common denominator with many violent acts in this country. But that would piss off sponsors.

Donald Wagner
Donald Wagner

Sad situation when his trial is still not started yet 12 are no longer here and hundreds suffer everyday ! If ever one was guilty and done this is it ! No need for time and studies time to answer to the highest source and leave the area

Curt Rogers
Curt Rogers

How is this even a trial? Dude massacred an entire theater of people... Weather insane or not I think old boy should have been publicly executed on live TV the next day.

Casey James Leonhardt
Casey James Leonhardt

Off with his head, all the evidence was in his car which he was arrested by that's all you need.

Kandi Kandi
Kandi Kandi

Sarah Nelson there are pictures of him in full tactical geat when he was arrested. Thats a fact.

Yolanda DeMarrias
Yolanda DeMarrias

Its been 2 fucking years! If they dont have their shit together by now they're never going to! They're just wasting time giving this fuck more time to perfect his insane act!

Becca Mertens
Becca Mertens

They want to keep delaying it to have time to find holes in the prosecutions case. Its pointless. Stop delaying and quit wasting tax payer money on a pathetic psycho!

Julio Padilla
Julio Padilla

Just fucking shoot his stupid ass or give him the chair and forget about the money being pissed away in attorneys and tax payers dollars trying to support him.

Lora McCabe
Lora McCabe

Did the victims have a choice or a fair trial no this pos knew what he was doing please fry him already wtf

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

And for the act that he committed I hope its sooner than later.

Sabrina Brunett
Sabrina Brunett

Yes, a pedophile is much worse than a murderer. You should open your eyes and see that nothing is worse. A killer is always a better man than a child molestor.

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson

Everyone will be not breathing at some point.

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson

I could be wrong, but isn't the prosecution the one that requested a second sanity eval? I didn't recall it being the defense team?

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