News that the trial of accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes would be delayed due to the prosecution's request for a second mental evaluation wasn't what victim Marcus Weaver wanted to hear.
"From a victim's standpoint, it's a complete letdown," he says. Weaver was at the Century 16 theater when Holmes, whose attorneys have admitted he was the gunman, opened fire, killing twelve people and injuring dozens more. Weaver was shot in the arm, but his friend Rebecca Wingo suffered fatal wounds.
"It's pretty painful, as the holidays approach, to know that things aren't moving forward," Weaver says.
On November 15, prosecutors in the case filed two motions related to a request for a second mental health evaluation of Holmes. The motions are sealed except for the titles, including this one: "Motion for Further Examination Pursuant to C.R.S. 16-8-106(1)." Colorado Revised Statute 16-8-106(1) is the section of state law that details how a mental evaluation of a defendant who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity should be carried out. Holmes entered an insanity plea back in June and was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.
But now, prosecutors reportedly want Holmes to undergo a second evaluation by experts of their choosing. According to news reports from media who were in court when this issue was discussed Thursday, Holmes's first evaluation reached three conclusions, and prosecutors would like him to be evaluated a second time regarding one of those conclusions. Prosecutors did not say in court what the conclusions were.
Weaver is trying not to speculate. "We still don't have any definite answers," he says.
He adds that it's disappointing this latest delay comes at the request of the prosecution, which he says is supposed to be on the victims' side. "I feel like it's another stab in the back," he says. "This will be the second Christmas (since the shooting), and we still don't have any more resolution in the case than when we started."
Holmes's trial was scheduled to start in February, but Judge Carlos Samour indicated on Thursday that it will now be postponed. According to court spokesman Rob McCallum, Holmes's attorneys have until December 6 to respond to prosecutors' motion for a second evaluation, and then prosecutors have until December 13 to reply.
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Samour has tentatively scheduled hearings for December 17 and 18 to discuss the prosecution's request. But those hearings will only go forward if he decides, based on both sides' arguments, that the prosecution's request should even be considered.@MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org