AURORA | The judge in the Aurora theater shooting trial will allow a video camera and still camera to record the sentencing hearing later this month.
In a ruling handed down Wednesday, Judge Carlos Samour Jr. said he will allow the cameras in the courtroom over the objections of the prosecution and defense, but put some restrictions on the photographer and videographer.
Citing concerns from some victims and relatives of the 12 killed in the July 2012 attack, Samour said the camera operators will not be allowed to photograph or record victims or other civilians as they testify at the podium. He also barred them from zooming in on people seated in the gallery.
“The court has done its utmost to alleviate the concerns expressed by the victims,” Samour wrote. “At the same time, however, the court cannot ignore the public’s interest in this case at the local, national and even international level.”
Samour also said the media can use the courtroom camera mounted on the ceiling to broadcast the three-day hearing just as they did during the trial.
In the ruling, Samour noted that throughout the case, the prosecution and defense cited “doomsday scenarios” about the possible harm expanded media coverage could do. But during the trial, the judge noted, the expanded media coverage he allowed caused no problems.
James Holmes was convicted in July of killing 12 and wounding 70 more during the shootings three years ago. Prosecutors asked the jury to sentence him to death but last week the jury said they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict, which means Holmes will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He will also be sentenced on attempted murder charges connected to the 70 wounded and explosives charges stemming from his booby-trapped apartment.