October 24, 2013 / 12:05 AM / 5 years ago

Drawing of serial-killer game found in Colorado theater shooter's apartment

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) - A search of accused Colorado theater gunman James Holmes’ booby-trapped apartment after he was arrested on charges of killing 12 moviegoers uncovered a drawing of a game involving a serial killer, a homicide detective testified on Wednesday.

James Holmes sits in court for an advisement hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colorado June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andy Cross/Pool

Detective Thomas Wilson said a page from a spiral notebook found in a backpack in Holmes’ apartment contained a drawing that depicted “a maze game ... a serial killer and a downtown Denver address.” He did not elaborate on the drawing.

The disclosure came on the final day of a series of hearings on what evidence should be admissible in the onetime neuroscience graduate student’s murder trial, scheduled to begin in early February.

Holmes, 25, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder for opening fire inside a cinema in the Denver suburb of Aurora during a midnight viewing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in July 2012.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the shooting, which killed 12 and hurt 70 others, and his lawyers have described their client as mentally ill and say he was psychotic when he went on the shooting spree.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if he is convicted. Public defenders have filed a flurry of pleadings seeking to have nearly all the evidence amassed against Holmes precluded from trial.

Wednesday’s hearing centered on a defense motion arguing that police did not have probable cause to search Holmes’ apartment without a warrant.

Prosecutors contend Holmes told police that his apartment was rigged with explosives, making it necessary to break in to avoid a massive explosion that threatened responding officers and the public.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr. said he would issue written rulings on the suppression motions. A series of pretrial hearings involving death penalty motions are scheduled for December.

Defense lawyers said in court documents that they plan to file motions never “litigated before in the state of Colorado” relating to capital punishment and mental illness.

Holmes underwent a court-ordered sanity examination over the summer after he invoked the insanity defense. The results have not been publicly released.

Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bob Burgdorfer

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