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James Holmes trial postponed again, new date pending

James Holmes in court in June 2013.
James Holmes in court in June 2013.
Andy Cross/Denver Post

The trial of Aurora theater shooting gunman James Holmes will be postponed again.

Jury selection for Holmes's trial was scheduled to begin on October 14. However, the examiner tasked with conducting a second sanity evaluation of Holmes has requested more time to complete that examination. Instead of an August 15 deadline, the examiner has asked to submit his report by October 15 -- a request that Judge Carlos Samour writes in an order he "has little choice but to grant."

See also: James Holmes case: Read letters that his defense team sent to victims

This is the second time Holmes's trial has been postponed. It was originally scheduled to begin in February 2014. Holmes is accused of killing twelve people and injuring seventy more by opening fire in an Aurora movie theater in July 2012.

The remodeled Aurora theater where the attack took place in July 2012.
The remodeled Aurora theater where the attack took place in July 2012.

Samour will set a new trial date at a hearing later this month, according to an order issued this week (and on view below). "This is a complicated and voluminous case," Samour writes, "and it is important that the second evaluation is adequate and complete."

Sanity evaluations are conducted when a defendant pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, as Holmes did in June 2013. Samour ordered a second evaluation of Holmes after finding that the first was "inadequate." Prosecutors alleged that the first evaluation contained "numerous deficiencies" and that the doctor who conducted it had an "unfair bias."

In a letter to Samour (also on view below), the superintendent of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, where the evaluation will be done, writes that the examiner chosen to conduct it "must review an even more voluminous amount of documentation than the first evaluation, conduct interviews, obtain psychological testing" and address other issues. It has been revealed that the psychiatrist who did the first evaluation spent more than a hundred hours reviewing over 51,000 pages of materials, in addition to hundreds of DVDs and CDs. Additionally, he interviewed Holmes for 25 hours.

The examiner conducting the second evaluation will also interview Holmes. According to the letter from CMHIP's superintendent, it's the examiner's "regular practice" to record such interviews on video -- a procedure with which Holmes's attorneys disagree. But Samour writes in his order that there is currently "no basis" for him to stop the examiner from recording the interview or giving the video to the attorneys.

Read Samour's order and CMHIP's letter below.

Order Addressing Requests from CMHIP

Letter From CMHIP

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com


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