Accused Aurora Shooter|Will Sit for Jury Selection

     DENVER (CN) – James Holmes, the accused mass murderer in Colorado, has a right to be present at initial jury-selection questioning, the presiding judge said Thursday.
     Holmes is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to 166 criminal counts, including murder and weapons charges, related to the 12 people killed and dozens injured at the midnight premiere of a Batman movie in an Aurora theater on July 20, 2012.
     Prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty.
     On Thursday morning, Arapahoe County Judge Carlos Samour discussed how the court would select a jury for the heavily publicized case in a two-hour hearing. He said there will be 12 jurors and 12 alternate jurors. Instead of filling out questionnaires in a juror process room, all potential jurors will be directed to fill out forms in Samour’s courtroom.
     Samour considered at the beginning of the hearing to greet and give all potential jurors instructions in person.
     “I think it is better to do it live,” Samour said.
     Reconsidering later, the judge deemed it is best to do all jury instruction by video and then allow attorneys to meet jurors in person.
     Samour also discussed allowing Holmes to be present with the initial large group of prospective jurors.
     “This is an unusual case,” Samour said. “If the defendant wants to be present, he has a right to be present.”
     Prosecutors did not agree with the judge.
     “We don’t feel it is in the best interest of this case,” prosecutors said.
     In the last half hour of the proceeding, Samour addressed Holmes directly to discuss the 26-year-old’s last waiver to a speedy trial.
     Holmes sat in his chair and kept silent while the judge advised him of his rights to fill out another waiver.
     “By your silence, I understand that you do not have any questions,” Samour said.
     Samour indicated at a hearing in February that approximately 6,000 jury summons would be sent.
     The next hearing will, in September, will address pretrial readiness.
     The trial is set for Oct. 14.

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