A judge says prosecutors in the Colorado theater shootings can use evidence found in defendant James Holmes' apartment, which includes homemade bombs and a calendar with the day of the shootings highlighted.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. - A succession of police and federal agents testified in a Colorado courtroom this week that James Holmes spent weeks amassing guns and ammunition, concocted explosives to booby-trap his apartment and scouted the movie theater where he would allegedly unleash a horrific attack on hundreds of terrified people.
The officers also described a hellish scene inside the theater on July 20, when 12 people were shot to death before their families and friends' eyes and scores of others were wounded amid a din of gunshots, screams and the blaring soundtrack of "The Dark Knight Rises."
Holmes' lawyers called no witnesses and cross-examined only a few of those summoned by prosecutors during the hearing. But they pointedly raised the issue of Holmes' sanity at strategic moments, possibly foreshadowing a defense that some believe is his best hope to avoid the death penalty.
"You're aware that people can be found not guilty on the grounds of insanity?" defense attorney Daniel King asked one witness.
The preliminary hearing, which ended Wednesday, is designed to allow state District Judge William Sylvester to determine whether prosecutors' case is strong enough to put Holmes on trial. Holmes faces more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.
Sylvester's decision is likely to come by Friday and if as expected he orders Holmes to stand trial, the next step will be for Holmes to enter a plea.
Holmes' lawyers haven't said if he will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but since his arrest outside the theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora immediately after the shootings, they have portrayed him as a man with serious mental problems prone to bizarre behavior.
Many legal analysts have said they expect the case to end with a plea bargain rather than a trial.
Tom Teves, whose son Alex was among the dead, said he would rather see Holmes plead guilty to first-degree murder, avoiding a traumatic trial, bringing a life sentence and closing the door to an insanity defense.
If found not guilty by reason of insanity, Holmes could conceivably be released someday if he is deemed to have recovered.
"Don't pretend he's crazy," Teves said Wednesday. "He's not crazy. He's no more crazy than you and I."
Prosecutors developed twin themes at the hearing: the horror and devastation of the attack and a weekslong process in which they alleged Holmes planned and prepared for the assault.
Two officers were overcome by emotion when they testified about the chaos in the theater and the race to get victims to hospitals by police cars until ambulances could arrive. Other witnesses read out, one by one, the names and injuries of the dead and wounded.
Prosecution witnesses also testified that Holmes started assembling an arsenal in early May and by July 6 had two semi-automatic pistols, a shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle, 6,200 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines that allow a shooter to fire many rounds without stopping to reload.
In late June he began equipping himself with a helmet, gas mask and body armor, the witnesses said.
In early July, they testified, he began buying fuses, gunpowder, chemicals and electronics to booby-trap his apartment in hopes of triggering an explosion and fire to divert police from the theater. The bombs never went off.
Also in early July, he took some interior and exterior photos of the theater, witnesses said.
"He picked the perfect venue for this crime," prosecutor Karen Pearson said.
On Wednesday, Pearson showed a series of photos that investigators said Holmes took of himself hours before the massacre. In one, he glares through black contact lenses, sticking out his tongue, as two locks of his orange-dyed hair curl out on either side of his head like horns.
Caren Teves, mother of Alex and wife of Tom Teves, said she saw Holmes smile when his self-portraits were shown in court.
"He just sat in the courtroom pretty much delighted. He was smiling. He was smirking," she said.
Some recited the names of the dead. Some did good deeds for their neighbors. And some practiced yoga, walked through nature, or simply talked.
"The day that we could have died is the day that we get to spend the rest of our lives together," said Aurora, Colorado theater shooting survivor Kirstin Davis, who will marry her fiancé Saturday.
His face was hidden behind a gas mask, and he was costumed from head to toe in a police-style helmet, black cargo pants and black vest. Then he started shooting.
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The suspect in the Colorado theater massacre could enter his long-expected insanity plea at a hearing Tuesday -- though the case could also veer off on another tangent as his lawyers seek the strongest possible defense.
Lawyers for the Colorado theater shooting suspect say he wants to change his plea to guilty by reason of insanity, but a judge won't rule on whether to allow that yet.
Lawyers for the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater say he wants to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.
Attorneys for the Colorado theater shooting suspect suggested in a court filing Monday that they might be considering entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity over their client's objections.