Andy Cross/Pool / Reuters
James Holmes and his defense attorney Daniel King (R) sit in court for an advisement hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colorado in this June 4, 2013 file photo. Police did not allow the accused theater gunman access to lawyers for 13 hours after he asked for legal counsel following his arrest, and ignored demands by his lawyers that he not be interrogated, defense attorneys said on October 18, 2013.
By Daniella Silva and Kevin Watters, NBC News
The judge in the Colorado movie theater shootings case postponed the trial of James Holmes indefinitely on Thursday.
District Judge Carlos Samour ordered the delay as attorneys on both sides debated whether the suspected shooter should undergo another psychiatric evaluation.
Holmes' trial had been set to begin with jury selection on Feb. 3.
The 25-year-old faces charges of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others during the 2012 attack at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. during a premiere of the film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
His attorneys have not disputed that he committed the shootings but have entered plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Throughout a roughly 40-minute hearing on Thursday, Holmes appeared expressionless as he sat in shackles and in a red prison jumpsuit and grown-in beard. He did not interact with his defense team or the bailiffs.
Prosecutors are challenging at least one of three aspects in the states’ first mental health evaluation and are seeking another examination. The findings of the evaluation have not been publically disclosed but the fact that prosecutors want further evaluation suggests the first exam might have found Holmes was insane.
If Holmes were found by jurors to have been insane at the time of the shooting, he would be committed to state hospital instead of prison. As such, the findings of any psychiatric evaluations are crucial to the case.
Judge Samour set future hearings on further testing and other pre-trial issues for Dec. 17 and 18.
A hearing scheduled for Nov. 22 and a capitol motions hearings scheduled from Dec. 2 to Dec. 20 have been cancelled, but in the course of discussion today, the judge indicated he hoped that the trial could start as early as April.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published November 21 2013, 12:26 PM