Holmes attorneys ask judge to move his trial
DENVER — Attorneys for the man charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater asked a judge to move the trial, citing the emotional and economic burdens the massacre placed on residents.
In motions filed Friday and made public Monday, defense attorneys also cited “incessant and unrelenting” news coverage.
James Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple charges of murder and attempted murder in the July 2012 shootings in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
His trial is scheduled to begin in October in Centennial, a southeast Denver suburb about 10 miles from the crime scene.
It was not immediately clear whether the request for a change of venue might further delay the trial. Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., who is presiding over the case, has not said whether he would consider the request.
The deadline for requesting a new venue passed more than a year ago, at Holmes’ arraignment hearing on March 12, 2013. The law allows later requests if the judge deems there is good cause.
The case has been slowed by complicated legal questions involving the death penalty, the insanity plea and multiple victims. The most recent delay came after prosecutors asked for a second sanity evaluation of Holmes. The judge eventually granted the new evaluation, but that has been placed on hold over defense objections.
Moving the trial could be costly and difficult.
A courtroom in the Centennial courthouse has been remodeled to accommodate a 24-member jury, including the 12 alternates that Samour wants.
Samour plans to issue 6,000 summonses for potential jurors. It’s not known whether that many would be required in a different location.
A new trial venue also would raise questions about housing and transporting Holmes. In Centennial, deputies can move him between the courthouse and the neighboring jail relatively easily.