Notes from the Aurora theater shooting trial of James Holmes in Arapahoe County district court.
CENTENNIAL | Day 11 in the Aurora theater shooting trial wrapped up this afternoon with the judge releasing another 62 prospective jurors.
That brings the total released so far to more than 1,200.
Accused shooter James Holmes sat quietly during the hearing and occasionally spoke to his lawyers during the sessions when jurors were not in the courtroom. He seemed more engaged and talkative with his lawyers Tuesday than he had been on previous days. When the jurors are in the courtroom though, he sits quietly and stares straight ahead.
Also during the afternoon session, the two sides said they had reached an agreement that means the defense won’t need to subpoena an employee of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The two sides gave the judge some documents that they said covers the information they were looking for, but they didn’t say in court what the documents are and the documents will be sealed.
Last week the Colorado Attorney General filed a motion asking the judge to quash a subpoena for Laura Nelson, who works for the CDLE’s office of unemployment insurance. The motion didn’t say what information they didn’t want to turn over.
CENTENNIAL | The judge in the Aurora theater shooting case released 63 jurors Tuesday, including one who broke down and pulled out clumps of her hair when court staff wouldn’t immediately release her.
The woman told the judge earlier in the day that she brought her grandchild to court with her because the child has not been immunized and no daycare would take them.
Judge Carlos Samour Jr. said he didn’t want the child in the courthouse because he was worried about health risks the unvaccinated child posed. The judge and prosecution wanted to immediately release her, but the defense asked that she be scheduled to come back another day and complete the juror questionnaire.
When the jury commissioner told the woman she would be rescheduled, Samour said she had a melt down. The woman fell to her knees, pulled out clumps of her hair and cried, Samour said.
A sheriff’s deputy picked up the grandchild and separated her from the grandmother. Court staff ushered the grandmother into a conference by her self.
Samour said the woman told staff that the experience was bringing back traumatic memories.
After the woman’s breakdown, the defense agreed to her release.
Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman asked the judge if any other prospective jurors saw the woman’s fit, but Samour said he wasn’t sure. He said staff would look into it.
A juror who court staff suspected of faking an arm injury in an attempt at getting released returned today. Samour said the man still complained of an arm injury so court staff will help them fill out the questionnaire.
The 65 released Tuesday brings the total released over the course of 11 days of jury selection to more than 1,100 jurors.
The initial phase, which includes jurors filling out a lengthy questionnaire, is set to wrap up Monday. The second phase, which includes individual questioning of jurors, is scheduled to start Feb. 11.
Accused shooter James Holmes sat quietly in court this morning wearing a bright blue dress shirt and dark slacks.
Court is in recess until 1:10 p.m.
CENTENNIAL | Only a small handful of prospective jurors were dismissed Wednesday morning. One juror was dismissed because they moved to Denver County and another was dismissed because they aren’t a U.S. citizen.
Samour also delayed the questioning of another prospective juror because she said her grandchildren weren’t fully immunized and the woman couldn’t find adequate daycare for the children. Samour said he wasn’t sure if any delay would rectify the woman’s situation.
“And frankly I’m not comfortable having her grandchildren in the courtroom if they’re not immunized,” he said.
The initial phase of selection will continue today and wrap up early next week, earlier than attorneys and Samour anticipated.