Jurors late this month will begin hearing the legal arguments against accused theater shooting suspect James Holmes, who faces the death penalty if convicted.
Prosecutors want to execute Holmes in connection with 12 shooting deaths at a suburban Denver movie theater in July 2012.
The Arapahoe District Court on Tuesday seated the 12 jurors who will decide his fate, along with 12 alternates in case any jurors drop out during what is expected to be a months-long trial filled with graphic descriptions of the shooting and aftermath. Opening arguments are set for April 27.
Judge Carlos Samour sternly admonished jurors to avoid the extensive media coverage. Reporters were not permitted to directly observe jury selection, and instead watched the proceedings from a separate room via a camera that didn’t show who was selected to serve.
“You have to keep an open mind throughout the trial, remembering that Mr. Holmes is presumed innocent,” Samour told the jury after it was sworn in. “Folks, we are depending on you to uphold the oath you have taken.”
Arapahoe District Attorney George Brachler and defense attorneys repeatedly hinted at the emotional toll the case will take. About 7,000 prospective jurors were considered for the trial in a winnowing process that took months.
One prospective juror told defense attorney Tamara Brady that he could be fair despite the massive number of charges.
“James’ life is on the line and I have to be fair,” said the prospective juror. “It’s not going to be easy, but few things in life that are easy are worth it.”
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SOURCE: USA Today – Trevor Hughes