Batman Jury Gets Statistics |on Movie Theater Massacre

     DENVER (CN) — Cinemark Theaters on Monday called an expert statistician to testify about the statistical probability of the mass murders during a Batman movie at its Aurora theater in July 2012.
     William Fairley, a Harvard-educated statistics expert, took the stand Monday morning to address statistical trends of violent crime and murders in Denver and Aurora in the past decade.
     “Without the existence of an event, can you calculate the probability of it?” Cinemark’s attorney Kevin Taylor asked.
     “If it’s never happened, normally, no,” Fairley said. “I can’t use the relative frequency of that event.”
     Taylor presented several graphs based on Fairley’s research, representing trends in violent crime and murders in the United States, Denver and Aurora. In all three cases, Fairley said, there was a “decreasing trend” in crime from 2004 to 2011.
     Aurora had a 20 percent decrease in violent crime, Fairley said.
     “And the population was going up at the time?” Taylor asked.
     “Yes,” Fairley said.
     When asked if someone was more likely to die in a homicide in Aurora in 2005 than in 2011, Fairley agreed.
     “That’s about a 30 percent drop,” Fairley said.
     Fairley said the plaintiffs — 27 survivors and family members of the victims — used ex post facto analysis in their lawsuit against Cinemark. He defined ex post facto analysis as analysis of an event after it occurred.
     In this case, he said, the analysis was used to incorrectly suggest the theater should have known of the security failures that helped enable James Holmes to commit the mass murders.
     In retrospect, Fairley said, it is easy to see what Cinemark could have done differently, though that does not mean the theater should have known to take such precautions before the event.
     “In this case, after the fact, you know most of what happened,” Fairley said, “that the door was propped open, the schedule of the ushers. You wouldn’t be that informed beforehand. You wouldn’t be able to design a plan without knowing the details.”
     The survivors claim that Holmes, who murdered 12 people and wounded 70, was able to sneak in through an exit door because it had no silent alarm, and Cinemark did not have proper protocols for employee door checks.
     On cross-examination, plaintiffs’ attorney Marc Bern turned to Cinemark’s liability.
     “Prior to July 19, 2012, Cinemark did not have the statistics that you’ve been talking about today?” he asked.
     “They did not have my report,” Fairley said.
     “And you wrote this long report: That is something that you could have done for Cinemark prior to July 12, 2012, had they asked?”
     “Except with reference to that particular event, yes.”
     Bern said the issue was that Cinemark, “the fifth-largest movie corporation in the world,” did not ask any expert to conduct such a report. He also addressed the 2004-2011 timeframe for Fairley’s data.
     “In that time, do you know whether or not the security measures had gotten any better between 2004 and 2011?”
     “No,” Fairley said.
     Cinemark will call several more expert witnesses, including a criminologist and a tactical attacks expert. The trial, presided over by Arapahoe County Judge Phillip Douglass, continues at the Arapahoe Justice Center.
     Holmes is serving life in prison for the murders and attempted murders.

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