Aurora theater shooting trial brings first responders to tears

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Aurora theater shooting trial enters Day 4.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — A police officer testified in the Colorado theater shooting trial that he was in a parking lot just 20 feet from James Holmes when he realized Holmes was involved in the attack.Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, left rear in light-colored shirt, watches during testimony by witness Derick Spruel, upper right, on the second day of his trial in Centennial, Colo., Monday, April 27, 2015. Oviatt says he first thought Holmes was another officer because he wore a gas mask and helmet, and police had been warned to wear masks because of gas inside.

Jurors will get to leave a little early on Thursday, but attorneys will argue afterward about whether witnesses can discuss one shooting victim’s pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage after she was wounded. Police officers called by the prosecution on Wednesday recounted a nightmarish scene with bloody victims, noxious smells and blaring noise in the suburban Denver theater. His attorneys say he seems aloof because of anti-psychotic medications he has taken since he killed 12 people and injured 70 more in the packed movie theater.

In opening statements on Monday and two days of testimony, prosecutors appeared intent on planting a deeply upsetting image of the assault in jurors’ minds. Holmes has remained unaffected in the opening days of his death penalty trial, stoic even as attorneys revealed the most intimate details of his personal life, from his failures in romance to his family’s history of mental illness.

The defense is asking the jury to find Holmes not guilty by reason of insanity, and if they do, he would be committed indefinitely to the state mental hospital. He’s so impassive that, even before his trial began, defense attorney Tamara Brady asked prospective jurors if they would read anything into his appearance, searching for those who wouldn’t study him too hard. “When you look at Mr. She heard people screaming, “I’ve been shot, I’ve been hit — stuff I’ve heard before.” Where had she heard it before, a prosecutors asked. “Iraq,” she replied.

If he talks to his lawyers, or doesn’t talk to his lawyers, does that mean he’s mentally ill?” His appearance has been the subject of speculation since his original booking photo showed him with fiery orange-red hair, which he later told police he dyed in order to be remembered. He and another firefighter entered the theater without knowing whether a gunman was still inside. “We have a saying in the fire service, ‘Risk a life to save a life,'” he said. “There was no protecting ourselves.” Weaver saw the gunman in silhouette, holding a single weapon with both hands at waist level. Standing in the witness box Wednesday, using a microphone as a stand-in for the weapon, Weaver demonstrated how the gunman rotated back and forth in a spraying motion. “You could see him moving this way and that way and this way and that way,” he said.

But since Holmes was found mentally competent to stand trial as part of his first sanity examination, he probably understands what’s going on and can help with his defense, Pitt said. When jurors decide whether Holmes was legally insane at the time of the shooting, the judge will order them to rely on evidence and testimony, not his expressionless face. It flared up behind bars, where surveillance footage and guards caught Holmes licking his cell walls, rearranging blankets, eating lunch meat between flattened paper cups and sucking his thumb and crying in November 2012. Doctors at a hospital where he was taken after repeatedly ramming his head into walls prescribed him the prescription drug Haldol, and King said he has been taking anti-psychotic medicine ever since that episode. “And it’s been having a positive effect on him,” King said during opening statements. “If he appears distracted or aloof or unconnected, that’s in part due to the medications he is on.” Holmes has always had a crippling awkwardness that made it hard for him to socialize and be successful in his study of neuroscience, District Attorney George Brauchler said. Brauchler said he was much more “sharp and witty” in writing, which helped him conceal his plans for mass murder when sending benign emails about life to his parents. “I only count fatalities,” he told psychiatrist William Reid in a video snippet shown in court. “The dead can’t be repaired or come back to life or be normal again.

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