This week's cover story, "Mind Games," takes a look at what happens when accused killers plead insanity in Colorado -- just as Aurora theater shooting gunman James Holmes has done. That case is still working its way through the court system; a trial scheduled for this month was postponed because of a request by prosecutors that Holmes undergo a second mental evaluation. The judge is currently considering whether to grant the prosecution's request. But in the meantime, he's ruled on several motions filed by the defense seeking to suppress certain evidence.
The evidence the defense would like to suppress includes certain statements Holmes allegedly made to law enforcement officers during and after his arrest, as well as evidence obtained from searches of Holmes's property -- including his car, his computers, his cell phone and his apartment, which authorities say was rigged with explosives.
Judge Carlos Samour denied eight such motions on Friday, meaning that prosecutors will be allowed to use at trial evidence obtained from Holmes's cell phone records, his bank records, his iPhone, his iPod Touch, his computers and his e-mail accounts. Previously, Samour ruled that prosecutors could use evidence obtained from Holmes's wallet, his apartment, his car and his Match.com and AdultFriendFinder.com profiles -- where Holmes allegedly wrote, "Will you visit me in prison?"
Samour also previously denied requests by Holmes's defense attorneys to suppress some of the statements that Holmes allegedly made to law enforcement officers. However, the judge did grant some of the requests, including one regarding a report from Aurora Officer Justin Grizzle about a facial expression that Holmes allegedly made in response to a question. Grizzle testified that Holmes smiled when he asked him if he had acted alone. At a hearing, Grizzle described the smile as "a self-satisfying, offensive smirk."
"The Court questions the reliability of Officer Grizzle's memory of his interaction with the defendant," Samour wrote in his order (on view below). As such, he granted the defense's motion to suppress the evidence of Holmes's alleged smirk.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Holmes. If he's convicted of the charges against him, and the judge rules that his mental illness does not preclude him from being executed, a capital sentencing phase of the trial will be held.
Samour recently ruled on three requests by prosecutors regarding the type of evidence that can be presented at a potential capital sentencing hearing. The judge decided that evidence about the history of the death penalty, evidence about the "procedures or circumstances surrounding Colorado's method of execution" and evidence about how Holmes's execution would impact his family and friends would not be allowed.
In his order on the last request, Samour writes, "Any evidence offered by the defendant's family members and friends to establish their love for him or to show that it is important for them to talk to him, see him, and have him in their lives would lack probative value."
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