Preliminary hearing date for Holmes likely pushed back to early 2013


CENTENNIAL| The preliminary hearing for accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes won’t likely happen until next year, according to attorneys in court today.

This courtroom sketch shows suspected theater shooter James Holmes during a motions hearing in district court in Centennial, Colo., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. Holmes has been charged in the shooting at the Aurora theater on July 20 that killed twelve people and injured more than 50. (AP Photo/Bill Robles, Pool)

Defense and prosecuting attorneys both said a mountain of pages of information relating to the case — more than 18,000 pages currently, according to the defense, but could be “hundreds of thousands” — is pushing back the preliminary hearing date originally set for November.

Prosecutor Rich Orman said prosecutors would be ready for the November date, but Holmes’ defense team said they wouldn’t be.

“Just to read that much information takes an extraordinary amount of effort,” said defense attorney Tamara Brady.

A preliminary hearing date was set for Jan. 7, 2013, but Orman said meeting that date isn’t likely because of holidays and other scheduling conflicts.

Attorneys offered Feb. 4, 2013, as a backup date for the preliminary hearing.

At the hearing, Judge William Sylvester is expected to rule whether is ample evidence for Holmes to stand trial on the more than 100 charges against him, which include 12 counts of first-degree murder.

The hearing will likely mark the first time prosecutors lay out details about their case against Holmes, who police say opened fire on the Century Aurora 16 theater July 20, killing 12 and wounding 58 others.

Attorneys spent the rest of the short hearing Thursday haggling over media motions. Sylvester said he will issue a ruling by Monday on whether he will unseal some portions of the court file.

In another sign of how much new information is still being processed, Sylvester allowed prosecutors to file 14 additional attempted murder charges against James Holmes based on the latest findings of the investigation. Last month, he allowed them to file 10 more attempted murder charges against Holmes.

It’s not clear whether each count represents an additional person hurt in the shooting. Prosecutors have not spoken about the case beyond what they have filed in court.

A lawyer appointed by prosecutors to represent the victims’ interests argued against the media’s request to unseal more information. Lisa Teesch-Maguire said victims have been harassed after being mentioned in court documents and have had their photos posted online by Holmes’ supporters after they appeared at court proceedings. She didn’t specify who was harassing them.

Teesch-Maguire also said the university psychiatrist Holmes was seeing, Lynne Fenton, can no longer live in her house because she doesn’t feel safe. She did not elaborate.

Holmes appeared in court Thursday in leg shackles and a red jail jumpsuit. He still has short brown hair, along with long sideburns and a mustache.

Holmes looked straight ahead at no one in particular and didn’t appear to speak to anyone at the defense table during the hearing. He periodically widened his eyes, causing wrinkles in his forehead.

 The Associated Press contributed to this story