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James Holmes Theater Shooting Trial: Photos Called Too Gruesome for Jurors

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Defense attorneys in the Colorado theater shooting case told a judge Tuesday that about 200 photos, many of dead and wounded victims, are too gruesome and would bias jurors if shown during trial. That’s only a portion of about 2,500 photos prosecutors want to introduce during the trial of James Holmes. Most of the videos and photos still in debate are of injured victims or of Holmes’ apartment and car that include items defense attorneys say are irrelevant, such as posters on his walls and a gear shift in the shape of a skull.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the attack at a Denver area movie theater on July 20, 2012. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Holmes’ lawyers acknowledge he was the shooter but argue he was in the grips of a psychotic episode. At the Tuesday hearing, they also said they would not dispute that Holmes caused the injuries if prosecutors would limit graphic crime scene photos they said could traumatize jurors. Prosecutors said they are the best evidence of the crime.

“We have a number of people who have been horrifically injured, and our pictures are horrific as a result of that,” Assistant Arapahoe County district attorney Karen Pearson said. Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. said there were too many photos to rule on each one, but he might offer guidance on which would be admissible. Jury selection is scheduled to start Jan. 20. Samour has said he plans to summon 9,000 prospective jurors, and opening arguments could start in May or June.

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— The Associated Press