DENVER (AP) — Attorneys for the man charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 in a Colorado movie theater asked a judge to move the trial, saying potential jurors have been exposed to prejudicial news coverage and carry emotional burdens from the massacre.
In motions filed Friday and made public Monday, defense attorneys contend that some of the news coverage "is tantamount to publishing a confession," and that defendant James Holmes cannot get a fair trial in Arapahoe County, where the attack occurred.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple charges of murder and attempted murder in the July 2012 shootings in the Denver suburb of Aurora. His attorneys have acknowledged he was the shooter but say he was in the grip of a psychotic episode.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The trial of Holmes is scheduled to begin in October in Centennial, a southeast Denver suburb about 10 miles from the crime scene.
It was not immediately clear whether the request for a change of venue might further delay the trial. District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., who is presiding over the case, has not said whether he would consider the request.
The deadline for requesting a new venue passed more than a year ago, at Holmes' arraignment hearing on March 12, 2013. The law allows later requests if the judge deems there is good cause.
The case has been slowed by complicated legal questions involving the insanity plea and death penalty.
The most recent delay came after prosecutors asked for a second sanity evaluation. The judge eventually granted the new evaluation, but it was placed on hold amid defense objections.
Moving the trial could be costly and difficult.
A courtroom in the Centennial courthouse has been remodeled at a cost of $26,400 to accommodate a 24-member jury, including the 12 alternates sought by Samour.
Samour plans to issue 6,000 summonses for potential jurors. It's not known whether that many would be required in a different location.
A new venue also would raise questions about housing and transporting Holmes. In Centennial, deputies can move him between the courthouse and the neighboring jail relatively easily.
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