US theater shooting case enters new phase



DAN ELLIOTT | AP

Published — Friday 11 January 2013

Last update 11 January 2013 11:16 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

CENTENNIAL, Colorado: A judge has ordered the Colorado theater shooting suspect to stand trial, but his attorneys say they’re not ready to enter a plea.
District Judge William Sylvester ruled Thursday night that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to proceed with charges alleging James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a suburban Denver movie theater July 20.
Holmes is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
The next major step is for Holmes to enter a plea during an arraignment hearing. Sylvester scheduled the arraignment for Friday but noted that defense lawyers will likely ask for a delay.
His defense attorneys filed papers earlier Thursday saying he’s not ready to enter a plea.
Holmes’ attorneys also objected to news media requests to bring cameras into the courtroom during the arraignment. Cameras have been barred from court since Holmes’ initial appearance in July.
If Holmes, 25, is convicted of first-degree murder, he could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have not said whether they would pursue that sentence.
At a preliminary hearing this week, prosecution witnesses testified that Holmes spent weeks amassing an arsenal and planning the attack at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” They also detailed an elaborate setup at Holmes’ apartment designed to explode at the same time as the theater attack several miles away.
Prosecution witnesses testified that Holmes began acquiring weapons in early May and by July 6 had two semi-automatic pistols, a shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle, 6,200 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines that allow a shooter to fire more rounds without stopping to reload.
Holmes’ lawyers called no witnesses this week. They have said he is mentally ill.
The defense motion suggested the possibility of more delays in the case.
One possible reason that Holmes’ attorneys could ask for a delay is to seek a mental health evaluation by a doctor of their choosing. If Holmes enters an insanity plea, an evaluation would be done by doctors at the state mental hospital.
Either side also could argue that Holmes is not mentally capable of assisting in his own defense. If that happens, the judge would order a mental competency evaluation. Sylvester also can order an evaluation if he has his own questions about Holmes’ competence. Doctors at the state mental hospital in Pueblo would conduct such an examination, which can take months.
If Holmes were to be found incompetent, the case would come to a halt while he receives psychiatric treatment at the state mental hospital. He would remain there until doctors can restore him to competency, at which point the case would continue.
Once the judge rules Holmes is competent — either immediately after a competency hearing or after psychiatric treatment — and any other delays are resolved, Holmes would then enter a plea.
This happened with Jared Loughner in the Tucson, Arizona, shooting that killed six people and wounded 13, including then-Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords. A federal judge ruled Loughner was incompetent to stand trial. After more than a year in treatment, Loughner was ruled competent, the case proceeded, and he entered guilty pleas. He is serving life in prison.
Ultimately, Holmes was widely expected to plead either not guilty or — more likely — not guilty by reason of insanity. In the latter case, too, Sylvester would order a psychiatric evaluation by doctors at the state hospital in Pueblo. A jury would consider that evaluation, along with testimony by expert witnesses, any other court-ordered evaluations and other evidence, in deciding at a trial whether Holmes is or is not guilty by reason of insanity.
If found not guilty by reason of insanity, Holmes would be committed to the state mental hospital for treatment. His case would be reviewed every six months. He conceivably could be released if he ever is deemed no longer insane.
“Insanity is what this case is going to turn on,” said Denver criminal defense attorney Dan Recht. “This is not a whodunit case.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Traffic Department has denied that it is introducing new license plates for cars.It said hackers posted pictures of the supposedly new license plates on its Twitter account on Sunday. The department said the news, which went viral,...
JEDDAH: The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.Th...
JEDDAH: The number of marriages between expatriates and Saudis has dropped 84 percent to 1,928 since the start of this Islamic year that began on Oct. 24, compared to the same period the previous year.The Ministry of Justice said that there were 12,0...
JEDDAH: Unofficial marriage is a refuge for a divorced mother to lead a married life while keeping her children in her custody but without the knowledge of the former husband who could demand the custody of the children if he learned about the ex-wif...
JEDDAH: Makkah’s health department has set up a committee to verify the sick leave certificates of employees.The department stated it would apply government regulations on sick leave, which includes people providing the address of the facilities wher...
RIYADH: The directorate of roads and transport has registered 20 cases of violations worth SR24,500 in Al-Qassim, where the transport ministry continued its surveillance drive against the companies in the transport business.According to the directora...
RIYADH: The implementation of an integrated health plan to combat MERS has resulted in a sharp drop in cases, with only one out of 736 samples testing positive for the contagion in the Kingdom in the last six days. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khal...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin next Tuesday to check whether companies are complying with new laws requiring them to place proper price labels on all their products.It is mandatory for companies to stop using phrases such as...
RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh chaired the first meeting with Yemeni scholars to exchange ideas on how to strengthen their role in restoring peace in their country.The first Saudi-Yemen scholars meeting, dubbed the “outreach sch...
RIYADH: To cope with the growing number of applicants (boys and girls) at technical colleges that reached 126,023 last year, a state-run organization launched an online unified portal to ease the enrolment procedures.According to the Technical and V...
RIYADH: A senior government official from Dhaka, who visited Riyadh last week, has sorted out technical issues to expedite issuing 1.5 million machine readable passports (MRP) to Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom. Information and Communication T...
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality is keen to provide health and food security to residents and visitors of the city, and they are continually conducting inspections of food stores, restaurants, markets and food storage facilities to avoid any violations by...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has been awarded a top international prize for his contribution to the propagation of the Qur’an.He was named the “Islamic Personality of the Year” by the Holy Qur’an International Memorization Or...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier, minister of defense and chairman of the Economic Affairs and Development Council, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, deputy national security advis...

Stay Connected

Facebook