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Fingerprint Evidence Mulled In James Holmes Case

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James Holmes in court on Sept. 30, 2012 (credit: Bill Robles)

James Holmes in court on Sept. 30, 2012 (credit: Bill Robles)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Attorneys in the Aurora theater massacre returned to court for a hearing on whether testimony on fingerprint comparison should be allowed at the trial.

Two FBI agents testified at Monday’s hearing, which is one of the last scheduled before James Holmes goes on trial in December on multiple charges of murder and attempted murder. Schedule changes have been common, however.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2012 shootings, which left 12 dead and 70 injured. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Before the hearing, the judge rejected a defense effort to gain unspecified University of Colorado records for a potential trial witness. The nature of the records and the identity of the witness haven’t been released.

Argument had been scheduled on that matter.

During the pretrial hearing, FBI agents weren’t asked about evidence found at the theater. Agent Stacy Furman used a fingerprint on a firearms manual in James Holmes’ apartment to illustrate how fingerprints are matched.

Defense lawyers questioned the reliability of fingerprint comparison and repeatedly asked about the lack of mandatory nationwide standards for training and positive identification.

Furman testified she matched Holmes’ fingerprints 121 times on evidence from his apartment, but it wasn’t clear how many separate objects were involved or what they were.

Prosecutors used a TV screen to show two fingerprint images from Furman’s report. She said one was from Holmes’ right index finger and the other from the manual.

She said she found six key features in each print that matched.

“I am confident with my report,” Furman said.

Testimony was set to continue Monday afternoon.

By DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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