Colorado shooting suspect to appear in court as new charges sought
POSTED: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 12:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 12:34pm
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — The man accused of spraying bullets in a crowded Colorado movie theater, leaving 12 dead and 58 wounded, is scheduled to attend a court hearing Thursday as prosecutors seek additional charges.
Authorities charged James Holmes with murder and attempted murder.
He also faces weapons charges in the July 20 shooting during the midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," in Aurora.
At Thursday's hearing, lawyers are expected to discuss a new prosecution request to add 10 charges to the more than 140 he already faces, according to a state court official.
Prosecutors are also seeking to amend 17 of the original charges, said Rob McCallum, a spokesman with the Office of the State Court Administrator.
If added, the new charges would bring to 152 the counts against Holmes.
Lawyers are also expected to argue whether a notebook Holmes allegedly mailed to his psychiatrist before the mass shooting can be used at his upcoming trial.
A judge has issued a gag order on the case to protect the suspect's right to a fair trial.
But several documents released give a timeline of events leading up to the theater shooting.
Holmes, who was a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at the University of Colorado's Anschutz campus in Aurora, failed his graduate school oral boards a month before the shooting.
Soon after, he was "denied access to the school after June 12, 2012, after he made threats to a professor," according to court documents.
Holmes then "started the process to voluntarily withdraw from his graduate studies program," the documents said.
The shooting unfolded inside a darkened theater packed with Batman fans, some in costume, for the premiere of the movie.
The suspect went to the rear door of Century 16 theater and propped it open, then tossed in a canister of irritant before unleashing a hail of gunfire, federal authorities said.
Along with the gas mask, the suspect wore a ballistic helmet, protective gear for his legs, throat and groin, and black gloves.
Police officers rushing to the theater encountered bloody victims streaming out as others remained inside suffering from gruesome injuries.
Holmes surrendered without resistance, and authorities quickly learned that the suspect's Aurora apartment had been rigged with explosive booby traps.
Authorities evacuated five buildings in the neighborhood and it took days to disarm all the makeshift bombs left inside Holmes' apartment.
In an initial interview with police, Holmes identified himself as the "the Joker," authorities said.
-- CNN's Calandra Corder contributed to this report.