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Self-portraits show Aurora movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes grinning, holding weapons

2:32 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
James Holmes is charged in the shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre that killed 12 people and wounded 52.(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Self-portraits taken with a cellphone less than seven hours before the mass shooting in an Aurora theater show suspect James Holmes grinning, sticking his tongue out, wearing black contact lenses and holding a Glock handgun and an assault rifle, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The evidence was introduced on the third and final day of what was to be a five-day preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try Holmes on more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case saying there was enough evidence to warrant a trial. Holmes' defense attorney, Dan King, who had planned to call witnesses who would have testified to Holmes' mental state, told the judge that he wasn't calling anyone.

"This is neither the proper venue nor time to put on a show or a truncated defense," he said, adding "we are at a probable cause hearing."

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 57 during the July 20 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

Besides the self-portraits, another series of photos from Holmes' cellphone showed he paced out the outside of the theater and took pictures of some of the rear exit doors. Police allege Holmes entered the theater for the movie, left through a rear exit door that he had blocked open, and then re-entered the theater through that door where he started shooting.

Arapahoe County prosecutor Karen Pearson said the photos "go to identity, deliberation and extreme indifference."

One photo seized by authorities after Holmes' arrest shows an array of tactical gear and assault weapons laying on his bed in his apartment.

The photos were taken between June 29, about three weeks before the shooting, and July 19 at 6:22 p.m. and 6:25 p.m., hours before the midnight showing of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.

Judge William Sylvester scheduled a status hearing on the case for Friday, but court officials said he could rule on a trial before then.

The hearing started on Monday with dramatic testimony from police officers who arrived on the scene of the shooting and found Holmes standing by his car at the rear of the theater "completely compliant," wearing in soft body armor, a gas mask and a helmet.

One officer, Justin Grizzle, described in emotional detail driving six shooting victims to the hospital on four separate trips.

"There was so much blood," he recalled. "I could hear it sloshing around in the back of my car."

On Tuesday, an FBI technician testified about how Holmes rigged his apartment with homemade bombs that would destroy his building when accidentally tripped from the outside, creating a diversion from the shootings at the movie theater.

Throughout the hearing victims of the massacre and families of those who died in the shooting were in the courtroom or an adjacent hearing room set up for people to watch the proceeding.

"She doesn't want to see him," said Sam Soudari, the father of Farrah Soudari, 23, who lost a kidney and spleen from an exploding grenade and was in the hearing room. "Part of me wants to rip his head off - but you see him sitting there and (he) just seems lifeless," Sam Soudari said.

USA Today

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