Colorado Movie Theater Massacre

Prosecution adds new charges; judge denies theater access to victims, families

A series of court documents filed Tuesday and released Wednesday showed prosecutors moving forward with additional charges against accused Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes and the defense retreating on their sanctions claims.

— Prosecutors filed a motion to add 14 additional counts of attempted murder and to amend five existing counts, bringing the total number of counts against Holmes to 166.

— In additional filings the Defense dismissed their claims for sanctions against the Prosecution for allegedly violating the judge imposed “gag order” by releasing a new mugshot of Holmes, without his infamous bright orange hair, to the media. Defense attorneys wrote that their request for sanctions was “rendered moot” after a visit with officials at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office, which is responsible for Holmes detention.

— D.A. Carol Chambers also filed a response of sorts to the Defense’s motion for sanctions for leaking privileged and confidential information about a notebook Holmes mailed to his psychiatrist. Chambers wrote that the prosecution was unable to even file a response because the Defense’s motion did not sufficiently specify the particular extra-judicial statement(s) at issue, did not identify who made the statement(s), and did not state whether the Defense believed the statement(s) at issue were factually accurate.

— In another released document, filed on August 27, the Defense filed a “Motion for sanctions resulting from the prosecution’s reckless DISREGARD for the truth” in which they claim the prosecution falsely claimed that Holmes was banned from the CU campus he attended for making threats. The Defense pointed to statements made by CU spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery who publicly refuted this version of events, saying instead that Holmes’ access to certain areas of the campus was the result of his withdrawal from the neuroscience program.

— Finally, Judge William Sylvestor denied a motion by attorneys for the victims and their families, as part of their attendant civil suit, to obtain access to the Aurora Century 16 Theater where the shooting occurred as well as access to additional documents and 911 transcripts that have been sealed by the court. Specifically they asked for access to the theater so they can investigate it before Cinemark begins its expressed plan to “refurbish” the theater and reopen it. Sylvester wrote that he did not have jurisdiction to make a ruling on the motion because the theater was no longer a crime scene and therefore “no longer subject to the control of this Court.”

In the hearing the defense team also stated that they are unsure whether sufficient discovery will be accomplished in time to keep the current November 13 date for the preliminary hearing. The prosecution said they have provided more than 18,000 pages of documents, 99 CDs, and 210 DVD’s; however they said they still have thousands of pages still pouring in, most of which are medical reports of the victims.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others when he opened fire during a special midnight showing of The Dark Knight in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado on July 20.

Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial

Source: AP

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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