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Victims in Batman movie massacre can attend trial, judge rules

Judge Carlos Samour
Judge Carlos SamourState of Colorado

Survivors of the shooting rampage at a Batman movie in Colorado last year will be allowed to attend the trial of the alleged killer, even if they are called as prosecution witnesses, a judge has ruled.

The alleged killer, James Holmes, had asked the judge to exclude the shooting victims from the courtroom.

“The record is barren of an assertion, never mind evidence, that the presence of the victims at the critical stages of the proceedings will prevent the defendant from receiving a fair trial,” the judge, Carlos A. Samour Jr. of Arapahoe County District Court, wrote in an order Wednesday.

The judge ordered that other prosecution witnesses be kept out of the courtroom and not discuss their testimony with each other. In July, he granted a request from Holmes to allow his parents to attend.

Twelve people were killed and 70 wounded at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., in July 2012. Hundreds more fled adjoining theaters. Samour ruled that they will be considered victims, too, and can attend the trial.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Holmes, 25, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The trial begins in February.