The State called its first witness on April 28–the wife of Caleb Medley–who was nine months pregnant on the night her husband was shot in the head. Caleb was the second witness. He was wheeled into court and used an alphabet board to spell his name. The aspiring comedian, who (as I recall) had performed in Denver the night before, suffered brain trauma that affects his speech and motor control. It was difficult to discern the words he spoke when he answered (along with spelling the answers on the board) three short questions. Their healthy son, now nearly three years old, was born soon after the shooting.
Today, the end of week 8 and on schedule as predicted, the State will call its final witnesses in its case in chief. Ashley Moser is expected to be that final witness–or close to it. In July 2012, she had just learned that she was pregnant. She took her 6-year-old daughter Veronica to the Batman movie mistakenly thinking it was an animated film. Veronica was tragically killed that night and Ashley was shot. Not surprisingly, she miscarried her child but she is now a quadriplegic, having spent 16 months in rehab where she learned to do tasks we take for granted like eating with a spoon and going to the bathroom.
Every survivor who was terrorized and shot that night deserves our empathy. But those whose lives have been so traumatized, so changed–like Caleb Medley and Ashley Moser–are in a special category.
Holmes was severely mentally ill. It seems clear that he was reaching out for help–months before the shooting. Could this tragedy have been prevented? And what should happen to Holmes? Do we execute him for his horrid acts? Do we lock him up for life without parole? Does he belong in a psychiatric facility where he could theoretically be released one day (though I doubt he would)? Jurors will be plowing through the evidence and asking themselves these questions in about a month. I suspect that we’ll hear “guilty” 166 times–matching all the counts in the complaint. But after a penalty phase, I’m not so sure we’ll hear a death verdict.
Day 35 is scheduled to begin at 8:40 am MST/10:40 am EST.
The Trial Outline:
Holmes Trial Outline (thru Day 34)- WM
# 217. Petra Anne Hogan, survivor. Was shot 3 times–one pellet went through her nose and lodged at back of her skull. She had to have part of her skull removed to retrieve the pellet. Another surgery was to reconstruct her sinuses. The third was to remove a pellet in her forearm. She has some cognitive injury–in searching for words and putting thoughts together. She was an honor student.
# 218. Hillary Fay Allen, UC-Denver graduate student. Knows def.–they were classmates in the first year neuroscience program. Describes him as a shy student. They went on a hike together. Def seemed more at ease talking to her on the hike than in school. He brought her home–a little awkward because she didn’t want him to perceive it as a date.
10:15 BREAK for 25 minutes. Judge will take up some matters with the attorneys. There will be a one-hour lunch today. Court is still expected to finish by 3:30 MST/5:30 EST today.
# 219. David Bunch, 24-Hour Fitness, records custodian
Def. apparently joined in January 2012. His last visit was July 6, 2012.
# 220. Louie Perea, Arapahoe County UnderSheriff, second in command.
He was in charge of the jail in 2012. “Kite” is the way an inmate communicates with the staff. ASK system is the administrative services kiosk. Kite is like an email to jail staff. He identifies records related to def. Perea discusses def’s request for books and requests.
LUNCH for one hour.
# 41. Craig Appel, lead detective, recalled.
# 122. Jeremy Phelps, recalled, FBI Agent.
He’s testifying about def’s emails between 4/11 and 7/12 from hotmail account. In an email from def’s father exactly a week before the shooting, his father asked if def had plans the weekend of Aug 10 because he wanted to visit. Def. replied that he had no plans that weekend.
# 221. Ashley Moser by Brauchler
She’s studying social work. On July 19, 2012 she had recently learned she was pregnant and had an ultrasound scheduled. She got a babysitter for Veronica who was 6-1/2 years old. She describes the scene in the theater. She stood to leave with Veronica when the shooting started and was shot in the chest, back and leg. One shot ricocheted off her shoulder blade and went into her spinal cord. She fell on top of Veronica and couldn’t move. Veronica wasn’t moving either. She still has a bullet in her C7 vertebra. It can’t be removed or there will be more damage. She lost the just of her arms and hands but went to rehab. for months. She had the upper left lobe of a lung removed. She uses oxygen at night.
The State rests. Jury is being sent home for five days. Court is dark next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
In motions after the jury left, Orman tells the judge that def went to the theater that night with more than 700 rounds of ammunition that included 407 .223 steel penetration rounds. He went into the theater with malice aforethought, with long, extensive planning, faked a phone call and stepped out, then came back. His intent was to make a corpse of every living soul in that theater.