Skip to main content

Suspect in Colorado theater killings to wear hidden harness during trial

By Shawn Nottingham and Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Sun June 30, 2013
The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/21/us/gallery/colorado-mourning-victims/index.html' target='_blank'>More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre</a> The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre
HIDE CAPTION
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Judge: The jury won't be sequestered, can use phones and laptops outside court
  • NEW: James Holmes will wear a harness that the jury can't see, the judge says
  • The trial of the man accused of killing 12 in a Colorado movie theater should start in February
  • The jury pool will have 5,000 people -- 1 of 90 residents in county -- spokesman says

(CNN) -- Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes will wear a hidden harness under his clothes to restrain him during his trial, which will have the largest jury pool in state history.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens more in an Aurora movie theater.

He will wear the harness, which will be anchored to the floor, because of the violent nature of his alleged crimes, a judge said.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr. will send out 5,000 jury summons and expects at least 3,200 people will end up in court, he ruled on Thursday.

That would mean each of the 450,000 Arapahoe County residents eligible for jury duty would have a 1 in 90 chance of being called, for this one case alone, court spokesman Rob McCallum told CNN.

Death penalty sought for James Holmes
No plea deal in movie massacre
Moore: There will be another Aurora

The idea is to bring in 800 prospective jurors at a time on Thursdays and Fridays early next year, a process that McCallum says could take three to four weeks.

Those thousands will be winnowed down to 12 men and women for the start of the trial, which is set to begin February 3. It is expected to last four months.

Judge accepts theater shooting suspect's insanity plea

Asking more people than usual to come to court for high-profile cases is common in the U.S. justice system, given concerns many of them already know the story and have strong opinions about it.

In Florida, for example, there was a 500-person jury pool for the now-ongoing murder trial of George Zimmerman, who is accused in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin -- a case that drew national headlines for weeks.

So too, of course, did what happened just after midnight the night of July 20, 2012, in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

It was then and there, authorities say, that a man walked through an exit door into a crowded Theater 9 of the Century movie complex as a late-night premiere of the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight Rises" played.

The former neuroscience graduate student wore all-black, a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, protective leggings, a throat and groin protector, and a gas mask, police say. And he carried an arsenal that included two Glock handguns, an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and 6,295 rounds of ammunition, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Steve Beggs has testified.

"He didn't care who he killed," prosecutor Karen Pearson told a judge during a preliminary court hearing in January, adding Holmes chose his venue carefully to cage his victims. "He intended to kill them all."

After the carnage and Holmes' subsequent capture outside the theater, he was charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and weapons violations.

Rescue workers weren't prepared for chaos of Aurora shooting

Since his arrest, much of the in-court discussion has resolved around Holmes' mental state.

Judge Samour earlier this month accepted the defense's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He was then taken to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo for evaluation, and is expected to be back in Arapahoe County Jail on August 2.

Prosecutors in Arapahoe County announced in April they would seek the death penalty.

Despite the notoriety of the mass shooting, the judge ruled Thursday that the empaneled jury will not be sequestered, as Holmes' defense team requested. Making it so they couldn't go home throughout the prolonged trial, Samour said, was an "unnecessarily drastic, expensive and impractical remedy that ... will create an extreme and undue hardship for jurors."

The judge also ruled against the defense's attempt to prevent jurors from using phones or computers, barring their use in court but saying preventing them from using them outside is "unreasonable and unfair."

One thing jurors won't be able to see is restraints on Holmes.

As someone accused of "multiple violent crimes," Samour says that Holmes must be restrained carefully during his trial.

But the judge said he needn't wear handcuffs or shackles. Instead, the judge ruled, Holmes will "wear a harness under his clothing which will not be visible to the jury" and will be anchored to the floor.

CNN's Carma Hassan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Meet the victims involved in the Colorado theater massacre through shared photos and read the memories kept alive by their loved ones.
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
Colorado shooting suspect has offered to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life behind bars in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.
updated 10:36 AM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
Back in the 1950s, Hollywood fell in love with the idea of truth serum. But it doesn't work the way the movies have made it seem.
updated 9:59 PM EST, Fri March 1, 2013
Lawyers for James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting suspect, took aim against the state's insanity defense laws in court documents made public Friday.
updated 7:18 AM EST, Tue January 8, 2013
So much blood the theater floor had become slippery. Bodies with horrific injuries. The eerie sound of cell phones ringing, over and over again.
updated 11:34 AM EST, Thu January 3, 2013
Relatives of nine people killed said an invitation to attend an event on the eve of the remodeled complex's reopening is "disgusting."
updated 11:30 AM EDT, Tue July 31, 2012
Colorado movie shooting suspect James Holmes was charged Monday with 24 counts of first-degree murder -- two counts for each of the 12 people killed in the shooting.
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Wed July 25, 2012
From the silver lining of welcoming a newborn into the world on Tuesday to promising to live life to the fullest, survivors are looking forward.
updated 10:46 AM EDT, Sun July 22, 2012
James E. Holmes is described by those who know him as a quiet, clean-cut doctoral student.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Fri July 20, 2012
A heavily armed gunman opened fire at a movie theater on July 20, killing at least 12 and wounding 38. Here are some of the worst U.S. mass shootings since World War II.
updated 2:59 PM EDT, Wed July 25, 2012
Photos of the scene in Aurora after the shooting took place.
updated 9:59 PM EDT, Fri July 20, 2012
A heavily armed gunman sprayed the audience with gunfire during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, killing 12 and wounding 38 others, authorities said.
Are you a friend or family member of one of the victims? Share your tributes here.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT