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James Holmes trial date vacated, delayed again

AURORA, Colo. — A mental health examiner asked to perform a second sanity evaluation of accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes has asked for two additional months to complete the examination, moving a judge to vacate yet another trial date for Holmes.

District Court Judge Carlos A. Samour’s decision was made public Wednesday. He wrote he had “little choice but to grant” the request, and indicated that the court would work to determine a new date for the trial at a July 22 hearing.

The out-of-state psychiatrist had originally been scheduled to deliver the findings of Holmes’ second mental health screening on Aug. 15. But through the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, he has requested the deadline be extended until Oct. 15.

That would obviously impact the previously-scheduled trial date, which was Oct. 14.

“The Court recognizes that most of the named victims likely oppose a postponement of the trial date,” Samour wrote. “However, the Court has little choice but to grant the examiner’s request. As the Court has observed before, this is a complicated and voluminous case, and it is important that the second examination is adequate and complete.”

Holmes’ trial date has been delayed on three different occasions.

The first trial date was set in August 2013, but was pushed back to February 2014 after prosecutors announced they would be seeking the death penalty.

That February date was then taken off the table when prosecutors requested a second mental health evaluation of Holmes. That request was granted Samour, who ruled that earlier mental evaluations of Holmes were “incomplete and inadequate.”

And from the looks of Samour’s latest ruling, circumstances may exist for the trial to be delayed a fourth time.

The new mental health examiner has indicated he will be videotaping Holmes’ second mental health evaluation, which is “consistent with regular practice,” the psychiatrist told Samour.

Holmes’ defense attorneys have reportedly objected to the evaluation being videotaped, according to the examiner. Though the defense is yet to formally voice that objection, it is not out of the realm of possibility them to do so.

When the case finally does go to trial, prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty for Holmes’ connection with the shooting, which took place in July 2012. Holmes appears set to plead insanity.