CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Bloomberg) — James Holmes, the man accused of murdering 12 people in July at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., faces 16 new counts of attempted murder, bringing the total number of charges to 166.
Judge William Sylvester today approved the new counts at a hearing in state court in Centennial. Holmes faces 24 counts of first-degree murder and more than 100 counts of attempted murder. First-degree murder can carry the death penalty in Colorado. Holmes appeared in court handcuffed and wearing a red jumpsuit.
Prosecutors said in a filing that the additional charges stem from an ongoing investigation of the case that revealed new victims. The names of victims were blocked out in the filing.
Holmes, 24, is accused of opening fire on the audience at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora on July 20.
Defense attorney Tamara Brady asked the judge to delay a preliminary hearing, when evidence is presented against Holmes, to January from November. She cited the massive amount of information in the case, including more than 18,000 pages already given to the defense, adding that she didn’t want to “wedge” the preliminary hearing into the holiday period.
Prosecutors said in a filing that victim medical records alone may run more than 100,000 pages, and they have compiled “over 5,000 electronic files on CDs and DVDs” with more expected. The judge said he will discuss the request at an Oct. 25 hearing. The week of Jan. 7 was cited by the judge as possible dates for the preliminary hearing, with the week of Feb. 4 as a backup.
A hearing on possible sanctions also is set for Oct. 25 over what the defense alleges were media leaks that violated an order against pretrial publicity. Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman said that the defense’s allegations were too vague and it was unclear whether the information supposedly leaked was even accurate.
Steven Zansberg, an attorney who represents a number of media organizations, argued in court that documents had too much information blocked out, including victim and witness names. He asked the court to release that information.
Deputy District Attorney Lisa Teesch-Maguire said the information was blocked to protect victims from harassment by the media and supporters of Holmes. She said helicopters have flown over the homes of victims to take photos of their underage children. Defense attorney Daniel King agreed with the prosecution and said witnesses whom the defense would like to interview have gone into hiding because of the media. The judge said he expects to issue a ruling on Zansberg’s request by Oct. 15.