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Theater rampage suspect took photos on phone

AFP/Getty Images
(FILES)James Holmes appears in court at the Arapahoe County Justice Center July 23, 2012 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes, 25, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 in the shooting in a midnight premiere screening of the latest Batman movie in a theater in Aurora, Colorado. Lawyers for the alleged gunman behind the Colorado theater massacre declined January 9, 2013 to present witnesses at a preliminary hearing, setting the stage for a ruling on whether he is mentally fit to stand trial. The surprise decision came as more evidence was presented, including iPhone pictures taken by alleged killer James Holmes hours before the shooting last July, showing him posing with weapons, orange hair and black contact lenses. Judge William Sylvester adjourned the court after the defense announcement, scheduling a new hearing for Friday for Holmes' possible arraignment, if the judge decides to call a trial as appears increasingly likely. AFP PHOTO/FILES/RJ SANGOSTIRJ SANGOSTI/AFP/Getty Images

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By USA Today
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 9:28 p.m.
 

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Self-portraits taken with a cellphone less than seven hours before the mass shooting at a Denver suburban theater show suspect James Holmes eerily grinning, sticking his tongue out and wearing black contact lenses while he holds a handgun, assault rifle and homemade bomb, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The cellphone photos were introduced on the third and final day of what was to be a five-day preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try Holmes on more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder. Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding nearly 60 during the July 20 massacre in Aurora, Colo.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case, saying there is ample evidence to warrant a trial. Arapahoe County prosecutor Karen Pearson said the photos — as well as video placing Holmes at the theater, records of weapons and ammunition purchases in the weeks of the shooting and other evidence — “go to identity, deliberation and extreme indifference” under the charges.

“He knew what he was doing,” Pearson said.

“He picked a perfect venue for his crime, where people were packed in and where there would be great difficulty for escape,” she said. “Had his (assault rifle) not jammed, he would have shot a lot more people. He had ample ammunition to do so.”

Holmes' legal team has said the 25-year-old University of Colorado doctoral program dropout suffers from mental illness. The attorneys have suggested their defense will be insanity. Lead defense attorney Dan King planned to call witnesses who would have testified to Holmes' mental state, but King told Judge William Sylvester on Wednesday that it would be pointless to call witnesses.

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