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article imageAccused Aurora theater shooter entered plea of not guilty

By Micki Hogan     Mar 12, 2013 in Crime
Aurora - UPDATE The arraignment of James Holmes took place today. He is on trial for the Aurora theater massacre where gun fire killed and injured dozens of people. A plea of not guilty was entered by the Judge on Holmes' behalf.
In spite of James Holmes attorneys' objections Judge William Sylvester entered the plea on Holmes' behalf. The defendant's attorneys proclaimed they were not ready to enter a plea. This plea may leave room for the defense to change the plea to not guilty by reason of insanity in future court hearings.
When the defense explained they needed more time for review and mental evaluations the family members of the victim could be heard sighing in unison. Moments later the prosecutor declared everyone had waited long enough. By the Judge entering the plea on Holmes behalf, it was an indication that even the Judge felt it was time for the case to move forward.
On April 1st the prosecutors in the case will announce if they will seek the death penalty. Holmes was arraigned on 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes. The trial is expected to begin August 5, 2012
Reported by John Ingold and Sadie Gurman of The Denver Post who was in the courtroom today.
Twelve people were killed and 71 people were injured when gunfire erupted at the theater where people were watching the premiere of the Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012. The massacre made the nation tremble to the core as stories spread like wildfire about the madman who stood in front of the crowd and opened fire. Children's voices were heard over the media outlets as they gave their account of the horrific event.
Holmes was arrested minutes after the massacre behind the movie theater. Many have speculated that Holmes may have entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. The public defenders for Holmes said that the defendant is mentally ill. We will have to wait and see if they change the plea entered by the Judge today on Holmes' behalf.
After this massacre and the one in Newton Connecticut, new gun control issues have been a hot topic of debate. Holmes had with him four weapons, tear gas and body armor. The prosecutor in the case states the evidence is overwhelming that this was a planned attack. Noting that the defendant even went to great lengths to arm his apartment with booby traps before leaving for the theater. It is not yet known if the prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the case.
USA Today reports that often most large massacres are a fairly rare thing since 2006. 200 cases of killings of four or more which defines a mass killing. Most mass killings are family or friend related. But like in this incident, only 26 cases have been reported where the gunman killed randomly, not knowing any of the victims.
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