James Holmes To Stand Trial For Aurora Shooting, Judge Rules

A judge in Denver ruled Thursday that James Holmes will be tried for the July 20 movie theater slaughter in Aurora, Colo. Holmes is accused of opening fire in an Aurora movie theater, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.

According to Judge William Sylvester, Holmes will face 166 felony counts, reports The Associated Press. Holmes will be held without bail as he awaits trial for 24 charges of first-degree murder, 140 counts of criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder, one count for possession of an explosive and one “sentence enhancer for a crime of violence,” according to court documents.

On July 20, Holmes allegedly opened fire at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, during the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Holmes will be arraigned on Friday but will not enter a plea to the charges as his attorneys have filed paperwork stating he is not ready, reports AP. Prosecutors laid out their case and their evidence against Holmes for three days before the judge’s ruling on Thursday.

Sylvester ruled on the evidence presented on Holmes’ mental state, declaring it was sound enough for him to stand trial. According to Sylvester, “Incorporating its findings above, the Court finds that the People carried their burden of proof and have established that there is probable cause to believe that Defendant committed the crimes charged in Counts 1-24, as stated below. Therefore, the Court finds that Defendant may be bound over for trial on those counts. The Court also finds that the proof is evident or presumption is great that Defendant committed the crimes charged in Counts 1-24, as stated below; therefore, the People have met their burden and Defendant may be held without bail on those counts.”

The evidence presented against Holmes included police testimony of the premeditated nature of Holmes’ stockpiling of weapons, the creation of homemade explosives and Holmes booby-trapping his apartment before the shooting. Police officers who were at the scene of the tragedy recounted the events that occurred in the movie theater.

It is unclear if prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Holmes while many experts believe Homes’ attorneys will try to use an insanity defense, reports Reuters. Other experts believe a plea bargain may be reached instead of a trial, reports AP.  

During the presentation of evidence, a series of cell phone photos taken by Holmes were shown. The pictures showed him smiling at the camera and sticking his tongue out. According to Caren Teves, the mother of Alex Teves, who died inside the theater, “He just sat in the courtroom pretty much delighted. He was smiling. He was smirking,” reports AP.

In an earlier ruling, Sylvester forbade the media to record video in court.

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