Aurora police Officer Jason Oviatt leaves the courtroom for the lunch break after a court appearance by James Holmes. …
Editor’s note: No electronic equipment is allowed in the courtroom. We’ll update here when possible during recesses and other breaks.
[Updated 1:19 p.m. ET/11:19 MT]
CENTENNIAL, Colo.— A federal agent testified today that suspected Aurora, Colo., theater gunman James Holmes had booby-trapped his apartment and intended it as a distraction while he went on a shooting rampage at the theater.
FBI bomb tech Garrett Gumbinner said during the preliminary hearing this morning that he interviewed Holmes the afternoon after he allegedly went on a shooting spree at the Aurora movie cineplex last July. The agent said that bombs inside his apartment were set to be detonated by a remote control for a toy car left outside the building. When someone tried to play with the remote control, the bombs would go off.
The explosions, which did not happen, were intended to draw first responders to his apartment, while Holmes went on a shooting spree, the agent said.
The testimony came during the second day of a preliminary hearing to determine if Holmes should stand trial for the shooting deaths of 12 people killed during the attack and the numerous other people he allegedly wounded.
Prosecutors also played the audio of two 911 calls during the morning court session.
During one call, 30 loud gunshots can be heard during a 27-second call from inside the Aurora movie theater during the rampage. That 911 call, made by moviegoer Kevin Quinonez, was replayed in open court and caused survivors and victims’ family members in attendance to hide their faces and wipe tears with tissues.
A second call played for the court was from a 13-year-old girl, whose aunt and cousin was shot. On that 4-minute call, a 911 operator tried repeatedly tried to instruct the teen how to perform CPR on one of her cousins who had not yet died.
“I can’t hear you” the girl says on the 911 tape. “I’m sorry.”
[Updated at 9 a.m. ET/7 a.m. MT]
CENTENNIAL, Colo.—Day two of James Holmes’ preliminary hearing on mass murder charges could offer more clues to whether prosecutors and defense attorneys are prepping for a possible insanity defense.
At times on Monday, through video, police testimony and the reciting of witness statements, both sides seemed to try to frame Holmes’ state of mind before, during and immediately after 12 people were killed and 58 injured in the movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012.
Sketch of James Holmes being led into court on Monday. (REUTERS/Bill Robles)
Century 16 security cameras showed a nonchalant Holmes holding the door for others as he entered the movie theater shortly after midnight. He used his cellphone to print his ticket to the premier of “The Dark Knight Rises.” He dawdled near a concession stand for several minutes before entering Theater 9, where the shootings took place.
Investigators say Holmes went out a side fire exit close to where his car was parked behind the complex. He then donned police-like tactical gear and got his guns before re-entering the side door about 20 minutes into the film.
Arresting Officer Jason Oviatt was the hearing’s first witness.
“He seemed very detached from it all,” Oviatt testified, adding that his notes from that night state that Holmes “simply stared off into the distance” and “seemed to be out of it and disoriented.”
But a second officer testified that Holmes smiled when he asked him about accomplices.
“It was like a smirk,” Officer Justin Grizzle testified.
Detective Matthew Ingui said a witness told him that the gunman was “very calm and moving with purpose.”
Late in the day, defense attorney Daniel King engaged the Arapahoe County coroner in a discussion about the definition of a homicide.