Holmes’ lawyers argue he can not get a fair trial in the county where the mass shooting occurred
Lawyers for alleged gunman James Holmes filed a request for a change of venue from Arapahoe County, Colo. where the shooting rampage occurred, because they say their client can not get a fair trial in the county as a result of “pervasive media coverage.”
Aurora — where the mass-shooting took place — is located in Arapahoe County and the majority of the population resides in South Aurora, Holmes’ public defenders pointed out. As such, the community was strongly impacted by the “Dark Knight Rises” movie theater shooting, making a fair hearing there impossible, they argued in Friday's District Court of Arapahoe County filing.
The defendant's attorneys also blamed media coverage for creating an impossible scenario. Their filing called pretrial news coverage “at best consistent and comprehensive” and “at worst … incessant and unrelenting.” The document added, “As a result, the public is aware of far more than just the charges and the general nature of the allegations.” It continued: “The pre-trial coverage has included a mostly one-sided detailed history of Mr. Holmes’ life that undermines the burden of proof related to sanity.”
“There are cases that involve ‘such a probability that prejudice will result that it is deemed inherently lacking in due process’ … This case is such a case,” the filing claimed.
Holmes’ lawyers even brought in a Ph.D., who studied similar cases that have had a strong community impact, to argue on their behalf. However, the prosecution objected to the motion to move the trial. The judge's decision to grant or deny will be determined at a later date.
Holmes, 26, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the July 2012 shooting rampage, which unfolded during a screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” The mass shooting left 12 people dead.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.