Aurora theater shooting trial jurors see James Holmes’ arsenal

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CENTENNIAL | Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting case got their first close look Thursday at the arsenal of weapons and body armor assembled by James Holmes, which formed a pile so large that a pair of courtroom tables could barely contain it.

Prosecutors showed jurors Holmes’ two Glock handguns and his M&P15 military-style rifle, along with ammunition, a stun gun, a helmet and other equipment investigators found after the July 2012 attack.

FBI agent Nick Vanicelli identified the items, which also included six pieces of body armor, a gas mask, two folding knives, a stun gun made to look like a cellphone, and hundreds of rounds of unfired ammunition. Investigators found all of the items outside the theater or in Holmes’ car.

Police also collected a pair of pink flip-flops, abandoned by someone fleeing the chaos. The evidence, wrapped in heavy plastic bags, was then passed around to jurors, who held and studied it closely for about 30 minutes before their lunch break.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 more in the shooting. Prosecutors seeking the death penalty have pointed to the weapons arsenal as proof of his meticulous planning and deliberation. In answer to a question from the jury, Vanicelli said the ammunition magazines for Holmes’ guns would have been loaded by hand, a time-consuming process.

Holmes’ lawyers say he has schizophrenia and was in the grips of a psychotic episode so intense that he couldn’t tell right from wrong.

Also Thursday, jurors heard from Amanda Teves, who legally changed her last name after her boyfriend, Alex Teves, was killed in the shooting. The couple had gone to the theater with a large group of friends excited to see a midnight premiere of a Batman movie.

After the gunfire began, Teves said her boyfriend dove onto her to protect her.

“He just kept shushing me and telling me it was going to be all right,” she said. Then someone shouted that one of them had been hit. She screamed her boyfriend’s name but heard no response.

Then, she realized her hands were covered in blood. When a friend yelled that they needed to leave, Teves grabbed Alex’s hand.

“I wanted to try to take him with me,” she said, her face contorted with grief and tears.