Things to know on Day 2 of Colorado theater shooting trial

AP News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2015 1:16 PM
Things to know on Day 2 of Colorado theater shooting trial

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The death penalty trial for Colorado theater shooter James Holmes entered its second day Tuesday. Here's a look at where things stand:

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WHAT'S HAPPENING?

Prosecutors have started calling witnesses, starting with some of the victims of the July 2012 attack.

Katie Medley told the jury she was nine months pregnant when her husband was shot in the head while next to her at the "Batman" premiere. Her husband, Caleb, still can't walk and has trouble talking.

The defense did not question her.

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LONG-AWAITED ANSWERS

Attorneys gave their opening statements Monday, with each side revealing details of Holmes' life story.

A prosecutor said two court-ordered psychiatric exams concluded he was sane at the time of the massacre. Defense attorneys countered that he was having a psychotic break, and that 20 doctors agreed he is schizophrenic.

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A WARNING TO JURORS

Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. again reminded jurors to keep an open mind and avoid talking about the case with anyone, even each other, until deliberations begin.

He also barred them from researching the shooting or looking up the backgrounds of the judge, the lawyers or anyone else involved with the trial.

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THE CHARGES

Holmes is charged with 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder.

Prosecutors filed two counts for each person killed and two for each person injured to expand their chances of getting convictions. On the murder charges, for instance, one count is for murder with deliberation, the other for murder with extreme indifference.

Holmes also is charged with possession of explosives and committing a crime of violence. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

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THE PENALTY

If Holmes is convicted of murder, he could be sentenced to death — which prosecutors want — or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If he's found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would be committed indefinitely to the state mental hospital. That means if he were someday declared sane, he could be released, although experts say that's unlikely.

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WHO DECIDES?

Under Colorado law, the jury will determine whether the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Holmes was sane, and therefore guilty. If so, they will decide on the sentence — death, or life without parole.