DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado judge presiding over the murder case against accused movie theater gunman James Holmes denied on Wednesday a bid by defense attorneys to delay the high-profile trial that is set to begin next week.
Public defenders argued in seeking a continuance that there would not be enough time for them once the trial started to review “a vast amount” of new information that prosecutors recently turned over to them.
Holmes, a 27-year-old former neuroscience graduate student, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 moviegoers and wounding dozens more in the July 2012 shooting rampage.
Defense lawyers have said Holmes was in “the throes of a psychotic episode” when he opened fire inside a Denver-area theater during a midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Prosecutors have charged Holmes with multiple counts of first-degree and attempted murder and have said they will seek the death penalty for the Southern California native if he is convicted.
The trial has been delayed several times because of legal issues surrounding the capital case. Jury selection, which could take up to four months, is slated to begin next Tuesday.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour ruled that the 1,600 documents, several CDs and a DVD the defense said it needed months to review did not warrant a postponement.
“(T)he defense fails to identify a single document or disk that contains surprising information ... is prejudicial, or that impacts the defense’s strategy at trial or any of its theories of the case,” Samour wrote.
He also ordered that videos the defense sought to introduce at a possible sentencing hearing were inadmissible. He sided with prosecutors who argued the evidence was hearsay and that allowing its use would deprive them of the ability to cross-examine witnesses.
Samour earlier told attorneys for both sides to be prepared to present their opening statements in late May or early June.
Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Peter Cooney