Potential jurors in Aurora theater shooting case told to prepare for 10-month trial

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Photo: U.S. Supreme Court Building

Jury selection has started in the Aurora theater shooting trial after a judge called 9,000 potential jurors to hear the death penalty case, one of the largest jury pools ever in the United States.

Already, 2,000 potential jurors were dismissed because of bad addresses or association with the case. It’s expected to take several months for the court to find 12 jurors and 12 alternates.

Photo: James Holmes listens to his defense attorney Tamara Brady in court
James Holmes listens to his defense attorney Tamara Brady in court in 2013.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the July 20, 2012, attack on the Denver-area movie theater. He appeared in court Tuesday wearing street clothes instead of his customary orange prison jumpsuit. His shackles were hidden from potential jurors.

The first wave of potential jurors also reported to the courtroom Tuesday. They heard the judge explain the process and fill out a form to gauge their eligibility. Some will be brought back for further questioning. The judge said that each day, he will summon more than 100 additional potential jurors for screening.

During the trial, which the judge warned could last until October, jurors will not be sequestered. But the judge warned that given the intense media coverage, jurors should do their best to avoid any stories, tweets, or conversations with friends about the case. The judge advised attorneys in the case to stay healthy in preparation for a long trial.

Jury selection is expected to wrap up in May or June, with the trial starting shortly thereafter.