Accused Colorado theater gunman in court before major hearing

James Holmes, suspect in a July 20 shooting rampage at a movie theatre which left 12 people dead and 70 more wounded, is seen in this undated police handout photo.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers involved in the case of accused Colorado theater gunman, James Holmes, returned to court on Wednesday, ahead of a hearing next week that may offer the public the first broad look at evidence collected about the mass shooting.

Holmes, 25, a former neuroscience graduate student, is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder for a shooting rampage on July 20 that killed 12 people and wounded 58 in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colorado.

Holmes, who was also expected to be in court, is accused of opening fire during a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Attorneys are expected to say on Wednesday whether they are ready for next week’s preliminary hearing, at which prosecutors will lay out evidence against Holmes so that a judge may decide if there is enough basis for him to stand trial.

However, Holmes could waive his right to that hearing and enter a plea instead.

Holmes’ lawyers, whom analysts have suggested may be laying the groundwork for an insanity defense, have said he suffers from mental illness and that he had sought to get help prior to the shooting.

Police have said that minutes into the film on July 20, Holmes left the theater to don a suit of tactical body armor, helmet and a gas mask, before returning to open fire on the unsuspecting crowd with multiple weapons.



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