Aurora Theater Shooting

James Holmes's expert can watch some (but not all) evidence testing, judge rules

James Holmes's own "confidential defense expert" has a right to be present during evidence testing if the testing will destroy the evidence but not otherwise, a judge ruled today.

Holmes, 24, is charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the July 20 Aurora theater shooting. His public defenders filed a motion asking that their own expert be present during any testing of evidence, including guns and bullets.

Prosecutors partly disagreed. "The legislature has only provided for the presence of representatives of the defendant in the limited circumstances of destructive testing," prosecutors wrote in a motion released to the public on Monday, along with 33 others that the judge unsealed after the media petitioned the court to do so.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge William Sylvester granted the defense's request "as to consumptive or destructive testing" but denied it in all other cases. "While the defendant has a right at trial to confront any state experts or examiners involved in scientific testing of the evidence, defendant does not have the right to have a confidential expert present during the people's scientific testing of all evidence," he wrote.

Read Sylvester's ruling below.

James Holmes Case: Order Re: Defendant's Motion to Allow Confidential Defense Experts to Be Present for Sci...

For more, read our Aurora Theater Shooting archive.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar