Defence lawyers in Colorado theatre shooting ask for another delay in trial to prepare case

DENVER – Defence attorneys in the Colorado theatre shooting case have requested another delay in James Holmes’ trial, saying they don’t have enough time to prepare for the Jan. 20 start date.

In a motion made public Friday, the attorneys asked to push the trial back two or three months.

Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., who did not immediately rule on the request, asked prosecutors to respond to the motion Friday. That response, if it was filed, has not been made public.

In another motion, defence lawyers said one of their witnesses won’t willingly testify at the trial because it will be televised. They asked Samour to reconsider his decision to allow television coverage.

Samour rejected the request, noting the trial would be heavily publicized even without TV coverage.

Defence lawyers did not identify the witness who does not want to testify if the trial is televised, or indicate what the witness would say. Parts of the motion are redacted.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 20, 2012, attack at a Denver-area theatre. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

He has undergone two sanity evaluations at the state mental hospital, the second because the judge ruled the first one was flawed.

Holmes’ lawyers said they won’t be ready for the scheduled start of jury selection next month because they are still reviewing material from the second sanity evaluation as well as other newly received evidence.

Evidence in the case now totals 85,000 pages of documents, 366 CDs and 282 DVDs, along with other materials in computer memory drives, they said.

Holmes’ attorneys also said one member of the defence team, Daniel King, has spent eight days testifying under subpoena in another case, taking him away from preparing for Holmes’ trial.

If the trial is delayed again, the new date would be the sixth one set for the case.

The first, in August 2013, was cancelled after prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty, raising numerous issues that had to be resolved before the trial. The second, in February, was scratched after prosecutors asked for the second sanity evaluation.

The third was Oct. 14, which Samour postponed to Dec. 8 after the doctor conducting the second evaluation requested an extension. Samour pushed the trial back to Jan. 20 to give defence lawyers time to review the second sanity evaluation.