Detective to return in second day of theater shooting hearing

Detective to return in second day of theater shooting hearing
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POSTED: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 5:49am

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 12:08pm

A police detective who interviewed victims of the July 20 shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater returns to the stand Tuesday to continue his testimony in the preliminary hearing for suspect James Holmes.

Detective Todd Fredericksen spoke Monday about the statements and other evidence in the case against Holmes, the 25-year-old former graduate student accused of killing 12 people at a midnight showing of "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises."

Prosecutors are expected to calls dozens of witnesses in a hearing that could last all week. It is meant to prove to Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester that prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Holmes' attorneys are expected to seek a "diminished capacity" defense that could prevent the case from getting that far.

In Monday's first day of testimony, police officers recounted arriving at the movie theater to find a detached, sweaty Holmes outside and a horrific scene inside the theater, where the floor had become slippery with blood and cell phones rang unanswered.

While none of the law enforcement witnesses who testified Monday offered insight into a possible motive for the shooting, some new details emerged.

Prosecutors aired surveillance camera video taken inside the theater complex that shows a man they say is Holmes dressed in dark trousers, a light-colored shirt with a T-shirt underneath and a ski cap. In the video, the man is shown using a cell phone at a ticket kiosk.

Holmes printed out a ticket that had been purchased July 8, they said.

After going into the theater, Holmes apparently popped a small plastic piece commonly used to secure tablecloths onto an outside door, preventing it from closing, Police Sgt. Gerald Jonsgaard testified. Authorities believe Holmes then went outside, armed himself and returned to the theater to begin killing.

While no cameras captured the shooting inside the theater, cameras outside captured the aftermath as waves of people ran out. One employee leaped over a counter to escape.

Police Officer Jason Oviatt -- the first officer to encounter Holmes after the rampage ended -- testified Monday that Holmes seemed "very, very relaxed."

Holmes, sweating and smelly, his pupils dilated, didn't struggle or even tense his muscles as he was dragged away to be searched.

"He seemed very detached from it all," Oviatt testified, describing Holmes as unnaturally calm amid the chaos and carnage.

Aurora police Officer Justin Grizzle, a 13-year veteran, wiped away tears Monday while describing his efforts to rush badly wounded victims to a hospital in his police cruiser, including shooting victim Ashley Moser and her husband, who wanted Grizzle to turn around and head back to the theater.

"He was shot in the head somewhere. He kept asking where his ... daughter was," Grizzle said. "He opened the door and tried to jump out."

Grizzle said he had to drive and hold the man by his shoulder to keep him in the car.

The girl the man was seeking, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, was shot four times and was among those killed. Veronica's mother, Ashley, faces a long recovery after being paralyzed in her lower half and miscarrying after the shooting.

The scene was still gruesome when Detective Matthew Ingui arrived 12 hours later with other investigators.

"We saw the first victim laying on the ground," he said "There's shoes, blood, body tissue and popcorn on the floor."

Blood was everywhere, he said.

Holmes had no visible reaction during the testimony.

Investigators found 209 live rounds of .223 ammunition and 15 cartridges of .40-caliber rounds inside the auditorium, Ingui said.

Holmes was a doctoral student in Aurora, in the neuroscience program at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado, Denver, until he withdrew a month before being arrested outside the bullet-riddled movie theater. He had been a patient of a University of Colorado psychiatrist, according to a court document filed by his lawyers.

His attorneys are expected to argue that their client has "diminished capacity," a term that, according to the Colorado Bar Association, relates to a person's ability or inability "to make adequately considered decisions" regarding his or her legal representation because of "mental impairment or for some other reason."

Several times, on cross-examination, the attorneys have asked witnesses about Holmes' demeanor and what he looked like when police found him.

Holmes did not speak during the hearing. His bushy hair and long beard contrasted with the bright red hair and close-cropped face he sported during previous appearances.

During portions of the hearing, family members of victims held one another, sobbing.

Security was tight at the hearing. Spectators had to pass through a metal detector and then were searched again before entering the courtroom. At least nine armed officers stood guard inside, some of them scanning the audience packed with reporters and victims' family members.

CNN's Casey Wian and Jim Spellman reported from Colorado; Michael Pearson wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Michael Cary and Greg Botelho also contributed to this report.
 

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