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January 10th, 2013
07:12 AM ET

James Holmes took photos of Aurora theater month ahead of massacre; CNN's Ed Lavandera reports details from prelim hearing

The preliminary hearing presenting evidence against James Holmes for the “Dark Knight” shooting is over. A judge will decide tomorrow if the case goes to trial. CNN’s Ed Lavandera has been reporting on the hearing from Centennial, Colorado and tells us more about the chilling details it has uncovered to the public.

“Prosecutors have laid out a detailed time line of how Holmes planned the Aurora theater massacre,” he says. “Investigators say James Holmes started casing the Century 16 movie theatre about three weeks before the shooting. They say he came here on three different occasions and snapped off a series of pictures they found on his iPhone that showed various hallway and doors, even the exit area of theatre nine.” According to prosecutors, Holmes also spent weeks stockpiling weapons and rigging an explosive system in his apartment timed to detonate just before he started the killing spree.

“Holmes's deviant and deadly plan feels more like the deranged creation of a fictional villain in a Batman movie,” Lavandera says. “But all these disturbing details we've learned in the past 3 days still don't explain why James Holmes wanted to kill so many people.”

January 8th, 2013
07:05 AM ET

Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson discusses the latest in Aurora massacre hearing

CNN is reporting new details about the immediate aftermath of the Aurora theater shooting this morning as the preliminary hearing of suspect James Holmes continues today. A police officer testified that Holmes “seemed very detached from it all.” Other officers described the chaos and confusion at the scene as they tried to help victims. More witnesses will take the stand today. The hearing will ultimately determine whether there is probable cause for a trial. Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson comes to “Early Start” this morning to discuss the latest developments.

Prosecutors are presenting their evidence against Holmes in this preliminary hearing. Jackson explains that, while the jury is watching, “the judge is examining is all of the evidence to determine whether or not that evidence meets the standard of having him legally held and, of course, having the trial move forward.” He thinks the judge will make that determination and move forward to that trial. “And that's when there will be fireworks.”

Jackson also offers his idea of whether there will be a plea deal. "I think with this mounting evidence,” he says, “it would be incumbent upon the defense team to contemplate a plea deal, particularly if they're looking to save his life which might be something that would entice them to say ‘I’m guilty.’”

January 7th, 2013
07:49 AM ET

Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes hearing; Criminal Defense Attorney Anne Bremner discusses case

A preliminary hearing of the tragic movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado begins today. Prosecutors are set to unveil evidence against James Holmes, the 25-year-old suspect who is charged with killing 12 people and wounding at least 58 others at a midnight showing of the Dark Knight last July. It will be the first time the public will hear details of the shooting as the judge in the case determines whether the evidence presented is sufficient for Holmes to stand trial on more than 150 counts, including murder, attempted murder and weapons charges. Anne Bremner is a criminal defense attorney. She discusses what to expect from the case today on “Early Start” this morning.

“This may be the only hearing where the facts are vetted,” Bremner says. “There may not be a trial if there’s some kind of bargain in the works in the future.” She explains that it will be difficult for victims, but in her experience as a former prosecutor, they want to be present to hear all the details. “There’s gonna be autopsy reports. There’s gonna be video from the within the theater. There’s gonna be first-hand accounts of how he was shooting again and again and again at people. People were dying. That will all be in this hearing.”