Holmes' Lawyers Hint They're Not Ready for Trial
James Holmes in court during a previous hearing.
Photo: MGN Online
A clean-shaven James Holmes sat quietly in court Monday as his lawyers hinted they might not be ready for his murder trial, scheduled to start in February.
Defense lawyers told Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. they are rushing to complete pretrial motions and waiting for prosecutors to whittle down their list of potential trial witnesses, which now stands at about 4,000.
They said they have too much to do in the judge's current schedule.
"If we want this trial to go in February, something's got to give," defense lawyer Daniel King told Samour.
Holmes is accused of firing into a crowded suburban Denver movie theater in July 2012, killing 12 people and injuring 70.
He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. He underwent an evaluation at the state mental hospital, but the results have not been made public.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Holmes looked tidier Monday than in the past. He had bright orange hair during his first court appearance and later donned a bushy beard and unruly hair. On Monday, his beard was gone and his dark hair was combed neatly back. Cameras were not allowed in court Monday.
Holmes' lawyers asked the judge to give them until Nov. 20 to file motions and to set an October deadline for prosecutors to turn over a list of trial witnesses. Prosecutors argued the defense needs less time for motions and that they cannot submit a witness list until December.
Samour said he would decide on the deadlines later.
The state hospital and the University of Colorado, Denver, where Holmes was a graduate student, had been ordered to give prosecutors Holmes' mental health records Monday, but that was delayed after the defense and the hospital said prosecutors were seeking more information than they were entitled to.
Samour said he would rule on that issue in the next few days.
Samour extended until Jan. 3 a subpoena that could require Fox News reporter Jana Winter to identify her confidential sources for a story about Holmes or face jail for contempt of court.
Citing unidentified law-enforcement officials, Winter reported Holmes sent a psychiatrist a notebook containing violent images. Defense lawyers said that violated a gag order. They also argued that officials who denied under oath that they spoke with Winter might have lied, undermining their credibility as trial witnesses.
Samour has not said if he will order Winter to identify her sources. Winter has said she will not, and she is fighting to quash the subpoena.
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