James Holmes sat lifeless, bearded, and with dark brown hair while eight Aurora witnesses revealed new details about James Holmes’ Aurora shooting spree, James Holmes’ arrest, and his victims. “The courtroom quickly hushed when the red jumpsuit-clad James Holmes entered Monday morning. His beard was full and his brown hair fully regrown. Holmes appeared to be paying attention in court on Monday, but showed little emotion,” reported San Diego’s 10News on Jan. 7, 2013.
During Monday’s James Holmes’ hearing, five Aurora police officers, one detective, and two pathologists testified. After having killed 12 people and injured 70 on July 20, 2012, only 20 minutes into the midnight showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” James Holmes is facing "164 counts of murder and attempted murder -- two counts for each victim -- along with one count of possession of an explosive/incendiary device and one count of using a weapon to commit a violent crime."
James Holmes’ Aurora shooting hearing on Monday was the first day of preliminary hearings. According to San Diego’s 10News report, “an Aurora County judge will decide if there's sufficient evidence to make accused shooter James Holmes stand trial.”
During the James Holmes’ Aurora shooting hearing, Aurora police detective Matthew Ingui (who was the fifth witness to testify) said that James Holmes was standing near the theater screen by an emergency exit. James Holmes first fired at the upper Aurora theater rows where he killed the 12 Aurora victims and where many other Aurora theater visitors were injured. An Aurora theater surveillance video showed the ensuing panic reaction by the other Aurora theater visitors and employees, who ducked down behind desks, ran out the front entrance doors, or tried to hide motionless on the floor.
The first witness of the James Holmes’ Aurora shooting hearing was Officer Jason Oviatt who had driven to the back of the Aurora Century 16 movie complex and who had handcuffed James Holmes outside the Aurora movie theater after the shooting. Officer Jason Oviatt testified that "I saw a trail of blood that led toward one of the theater's exits.”
Officer Jason Oviatt also testified that James Holmes stood by a white, two-door car just outside of Theater 9 and that James Holmes at first appeared to be an officer because he wore a helmet and a gas mask. "All of the officers were moving urgently -- he was just standing there, … Since we were responding to a scene involving gas, I figured the only person who would have a mask would be the suspect. … As I got closer to him, I realized he wasn't a police officer, so I held him at gunpoint."
When asked how he was able to recognize James Holmes as being the Aurora shooter, Oviatt responded that, “The closer I got to him, the less it looked like the same equipment I had."
During his arrest, James Holmes was silent and immediately complied when ordered to put up his hands and then to lie on the ground.” Before putting on handcuffs, Officer Oviatt searched James Holmes’ back and discovered that James Homes “was wearing body armor on his legs and under his thick coat.” According to Officer Oviatt’s testimony, a “semi-automatic handgun was on top of the car, where Holmes had put his hands, and it was within reach.” Officer Oviatt also “saw a rifle near the movie theater exit.”
The second witness of the James Holmes’ Aurora shooting hearing was Officer Aaron Blue who testified that after having been placed into the police car, James Holmes was pulled out again because James Holmes “was fidgeting a lot in the back of the patrol car.” Subsequently, police officers removed all of James Holmes’ clothes, “down to his underwear” while one officer held each of James Holmes’ arms. In order to be sure that James Holmes wasn’t armed, "I decided to remove all of his armor and clothing," said Officer Oviatt.
During his arrest, James Holmes was described as “dripping with sweat,” “very relaxed,” “detached from it all,” “not a normal emotional response,” and as staring off “into the distance and seemed disoriented, and his pupils were big.” However, the arresting Aurora officers did not have any “reason to believe he was on drugs or alcohol” and attributed James Holmes’ sweating to his body armor.
Officer Aaron Blue said that when James Holmes was asked during the arrest if James Holmes had any other weapons, James Holmes said that “he had four weapons and that there were improvised explosives at his home that were armed to go off if you trip them.”
Besides testifying about James Holmes’ arrest, Officer Blue also spoke about Jessica Ghawi’s emergency transport to the hospital because she had been shot in the head and leg. “After Blue testified, the court took a short break before two more officers testified about the bloody scene inside Theater 9 and trying to rescue the victims.”
After the break, Officer Justin Grizzle testified that “he entered Theater 9 through the same exit Holmes had used after seeing screaming people streaming out, many of whom were covered in blood. … I stepped over a rifle and slipped. … I almost fell because of all the blood."
When describing the inside of the Aurora theater room, Officer Grizzle said that “he heard alarms and ringing cell phones; he smelled tear gas and saw several other officers already inside.” Officer Grizzle’s emotional testimony described that there "were several bodies throughout the theater lying motionless," “that after making four trips and bringing six victims to hospitals,” his car was “full of gore” and that “there was so much blood, I could hear it sloshing in the back of my car."
“On his first trip, Grizzle said he took two people to Aurora South. The female in the back seat turned out to be Ashley Moser. The man in the front passenger's seat kept asking, ‘Is my wife going to live?’ Grizzle testified that Ashley Moser was shot in the face and stomach. The man was also injured. For about half the trip, with lights and sirens on, Grizzle said he had to restrain the man from jumping out of the car. ‘The man kept asking where his 7-year-old daughter was,’ Grizzle said.”
After officers Oviatt, Blue, and Grizzle, Specialist Sgt. Jerald Jonsgaard testified how he found Ashley Moser’s 7-year-old daughter Veronica Moser Sullivan inside the Aurora theater. “’I checked for a pulse, she was dead,’ the emotional officer said. ‘I could see one shot to the abdomen area’." Ashley Moser survived but miscarried her baby and is still “struggling with paralysis.”
James Holmes’ youngest victim, 7-year-old Veronica Moser Sullivan, had not just suffered one gunshot to the abdomen area as Specialist Sgt. Jerald Jonsgaard was able to observe in the Aurora theater but the little girl had suffered “one gunshot to the pelvis, one to the wrist, one to the knee and one to the abdomen,” according to Dr. Kelly Lear-Kaul’s testimony.
Dr. Kelly Lear-Kaul’s testimony was part of the final James Holmes’ first day Aurora court hearing during which two pathologists and a detective took the stand in order to establish each count against James Holmes.
“The two forensic pathologists each performed six autopsies. Some of the victims, such as Alex Teves, died from one wound. … Matthew McQuinn was hit by nine bullets -- the most of any victims. The 27-year-old McQuinn died using his body to protect his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, 26, who survived a gunshot wound to her leg. … Ghawi was struck by six bullets, including one to the head, Arapahoe County Coroner Dr. Michael J. Doberson testified.”
Detective Todd Fredericksen, who testified in regard to the surviving injured Aurora shooting victims, said that there were about 16 surviving victims, “some with minor injuries such as a torn tendon caused by a fall and others with life-altering paralysis caused by gunshots.”
Before the two pathologists’ and detective’s testimony, photographs and a surveillance video from inside the Aurora theater were shown during the testimony of the fifth Aurora police detective, Matthew Ingui. In addition to Aurora police detective Matthew Ingui’s testimony, about 18 photos, which were submitted into evidence, revealed where 10 of the killed Aurora shooting victims had been found.
“The color photos -- taken days after the showing -- also showed red rods and yellow rods showing the trajectory that the bullets had taken through the seats and through the walls.”
Surveillance videos from five cameras were also submitted into evidence. One “2-minute video showed another camera angle after the shooting had begun. The right side of the camera frame shows people streaming out of the doors of the building and the left side of the frame shows theater employees diving for cover. One theater worker was also seen jumping over the counter and running out the door.”
Aurora police detective Matthew Ingui said that the surveillance video and Holmes’ cell phone showed that James Holmes had bought the “Dark Knight Rises” movie ticket on July 8, 2012, which was two weeks before the shooting, and that James Holmes had the Aurora movie ticket “scanned three times after midnight on July 20.“
“In court, video from five cameras were submitted as evidence. They showed Holmes in dark pants and a light overshirt going into the building and scanning his ticket on his phone. He appeared to have trouble at the kiosk getting the machine to read his phone and walked around a bit. Other videos showed him milling about the concession area and turning toward Theater 9.”
After new details had been revealed in regard to James Holmes’ Aurora theater shooting by Officer Jason Oviatt, Officer Aaron Blue, Officer Justin Grizzle, Specialist Sgt. Jerald Jonsgaard, Aurora police detective Matthew Ingui , the two pathologists, and Detective Todd Fredericksen, the testimony ended at 4 p.m. on Monday. The James Holmes Aurora theater shooting preliminary hearing, with Chief Judge William B. Sylvester of Colorado's 18th Judicial District presiding over the case, is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.
According to a Times Live report, the James Holmes preliminary hearing is expected to last a week and while the hearing offers the public a first “detailed look into the investigation of the July 20 carnage in Aurora, a Denver suburb,” it also provides James Holmes’ lawyers with the opportunity to call witnesses to testify about his mental state. They are expected to mount an insanity defence if the case goes to trial.”
Throughout Monday’s Aurora theater shooting hearing, James Holmes “Shackled and wearing a crimson jumpsuit, a bearded Holmes sat expressionless at the defence table. Dark brown hair has replaced the dyed bright red hair the California native had when he was arrested.”
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