The ongoing hearings regarding James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, has endured a number of ups and downs so far. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other offenses from the July 20, 2012 massacre. His lawyers have built their case on challenging the admissibility of key evidence. If convicted, Holmes could face life in prison.
The actual trial won't take place until next year, and Judge Carlos Samour said in a filing that prospective jurors can expect to set aside up to eight months for the case. Six thousand jury summonses will be sent out if the trial moves forward.
Below is a summary of events thus far.
Right after the shooting, he was at turns nonchalant and smug:
Officers testified that they found Holmes standing casually and removing gloves by his car right after the shooting. When questioned about possible accomplices, Holmes offered no reply, only a “self-satisfying, offensive smirk,” according to Denver Post reporter John Ingold.
Police nearly destroyed the building his apartment was in because the traps were so complex:
Lt. Thomas Wilkes, the incident commander at Holmes' apartment, “said the explosives found there were difficult to defuse, and officials seriously considered letting the whole building burn down,” reported the Denver Post. They ended up asking Holmes for details. ”We knew that building would go. The ideas was 'Can we defend the other buildings?'” Wilkes told the court Thursday. Holmes planted the explosives to lure neighbors into setting off the devices, thus diverting police away from the theater.
He kept a doorstop and metal spikes in his car, among other things, but no bombs:
After his arrest, Holmes confessed to housing explosives in his apartment, which led bomb squad members to immediately search his car as well, though they had no warrant. Later, when a warrant was obtained, “investigators found black gloves, a ski mask, the butt plate for a firearm magazine, some metal spikes and a doorstop,” reported the Denver Post. Additional searches of the vehicle turned up “other items, like duffel bags, rifle cases and a handgun.”
He behaved strangely after being captured, but also seemed aware of his situation
Holmes exhibited erratic behavior after his arrest, reportedly making puppets out of evidence bags placed on his hands and claiming to be the Joker. However, he was coherent enough to issue a prompt request for an attorney during police questioning and even posted on a dating website prior to the shooting: “Will you visit me in prison?” While Holmes's attorney plan to pursue an insanity defense, than two percent of mass killers have successfully pled insanity, according to research spanning decades of cases.