Judge won't delay Colorado theater shooting trial despite defense requests for more time

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DENVER — The judge overseeing the Colorado theater shooting case has refused to delay the trial despite defense attorneys' request for more time to review massive amounts of evidence.

Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. wrote in an order Wednesday that James Holmes' attorneys have had enough time to prepare. Both Holmes and the victims are entitled to a swift resolution, the judge wrote, and the majority of the victims and their families have told prosecutors they don't want to wait any longer.

"This case has been pending for 2 1/2 years," Samour wrote in his 20-page order. "Counsel, their skilled experts, and their staff have had a considerable amount of time to prepare for trial."

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the 2012 attack at a Denver-area theater. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Jury selection is scheduled to start Jan. 20.

Defense attorneys sought two to three more months to review evidence that includes 85,000 pages of documents, 366 CDs, 282 DVDs and other materials in computer memory drives. Attorney Daniel King said this week that expert witnesses were still studying the material, namely a sanity evaluation that includes more than 20 hours of interviews with Holmes and 5,000 pages of documents from the state mental hospital where it took place.

They also told Samour that their work has been complicated by medical emergencies involving an attorney and an investigator in their office. Samour said he was sympathetic to the health problems but unconvinced that they justified postponing the trial for the sixth time.

"To delay this trial unnecessarily or improperly solely on the basis that it is a death penalty case would only promote the cynical view — sadly held by many — that the justice system is broken," Samour wrote.

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