The empty jury box in the courtroom where James Holmes will be tried.
The empty jury box in the courtroom where James Holmes will be tried.
Brennan Linsley/AP

James Holmes Trial: Previewing the Start of Jury Selection

Jury selection in the trial of Aurora theater shooter James Holmes is scheduled to start the afternoon of Tuesday, January 20, when the first 250 of 9,000 summoned prospective jurors will report to the courthouse. Out of those 9,000, 24 people -- twelve jurors and twelve alternates -- will be chosen. The process of selecting them is expected to take several months.

See also: Asking Aurora Victims to Control Emotions When Testifying is "Insulting," Prosecutors Say

The process will work like this: Every day for several weeks, Judge Carlos Samour will summon 500 prospective jurors to the Arapahoe County courthouse: 250 in the morning and 250 in the afternoon. He will read them a prepared statement (on view below) that explains a bit about the case, the jury selection process and the jurors' responsibilities -- one of the most important being that they can't discuss the case with anyone.

Another view of the courtroom where jury selection will take place.
Another view of the courtroom where jury selection will take place.
Brennan Linsley/AP

After Samour's remarks, the potential jurors will fill out a questionnaire, which has not been made public. Samour and the attorneys for the prosecution and for Holmes will later review the answers, and Samour will decide which of the 9,000 potential jurors to release and which to call back for individual questioning. The individual questioning will take place between mid-February and the end of May.

At the end of the individual questioning, 100 to 120 potential jurors will be called back again for a two-day group questioning session. From that group, Samour and the attorneys will choose the 24 people who will serve on the jury.

The trial is expected to begin in May or June and last four or five months.

The media and the public will be allowed to watch jury selection via a video feed to another courtroom. However, the media is not allowed to interview jurors.

Holmes has been charged with murdering twelve people and injuring seventy more by opening fire in an Aurora movie theater on July 20, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Below, read the prepared statements Samour will give to potential jurors.

Judge's Introductory Remarks

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

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