‘Rot in hell’ screams victim’s father after Holmes arraignment postponed
An artist's sketch shows James Holmes during his preliminary hearing at an Arapahoe County court on Jan. 9, 2012. (Sketch: Bill Robles)
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — Despite an objection from the prosecution, the arraignment hearing for the man accused of killing 12 and wounding 58 others inside an Aurora movie theater on July 20 will be postponed.
After a week of emotional testimony, many were anxious for the hearing, which was scheduled to take place today. Cameras were expected to be allowed into the courtroom for the first time since July 23, and accused gunman James Holmes was expected to finally enter a plea in regards to the 166 counts he is facing.
After Arapahoe County ChiefJudge William Sylvester announced that he would delay the arraignment until March 12 due to a request from Holmes’ defense, a volatile crowd member erupted.
“Rot in hell, Holmes!” the man yelled. That man was later identified as Steven Hernandez, the father Rebecca Wingo, who was killed in the shooting.
Shortly after the outburst, court was reconvened. Sylvester advised the courtroom that any further outbursts would be met with contempt charges. He also addressed Hernandez personally.
“Mr. Hernandez, I am truly sorry for your loss,” Sylvester said. “I can’t begin to imagine your emotions that are raging.”
Hernandez apologized to the court and promised he would be able to contain himself from speaking up at future proceedings.
However unwelcome it may have been considered by the court, Hernandez’s outburst was not difficult to understand — especially in light of Sylvester’s ruling.
In accordance with the Victims’ Bill of Rights, the prosecution was in contact with all of the victims connected with the Aurora theater shooting case. A poll was taken, which found 84 of those victims wanted the arraignment to go forward Friday.
In contrast, six victims had no opinion on the matter and three said they would not object to an extension being granted.
The amount of evidence was also enumerated at the brief hearing Friday morning. There will be 30,879 pages of discovery, 220 DVDs, 136 CDs and two blu-ray disks presented when the case finally goes to trial.