CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Hundreds of pictures and videos from the Aurora theater shooting case have been released by the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. They provide an up-close look at the evidence that played a key role in the conviction of gunman James Holmes.
One video is a police interrogation of Holmes recorded less than two hours after the massacre.
“Can you tell us what your name is?” asked the detective.
“James Holmes,” answered Holmes.
“How do you spell that please?” asked the detective.
“Like Sherlock,” said Holmes.
Twelve people were killed and 70 others injured at a premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora on July 20, 2012.
At the center of his trial was the question, “Did he know right from wrong?”
Holmes asked a question of police during that first interrogation, “There wasn’t any children hurt, was there?”
A detective responded, “We’ll get to that.”
The evidence released contained hundreds of pictures including the gunman’s gas mask, tear gas and his arsenal.
“How important it is for the jurors to not only hear the evidence but see the evidence,” said Karen Steinhauser, a Denver defense attorney and former prosecutor who also is CBS4’s legal analyst.
Now that evidence can be examined and studied by current and future lawyers to study how the case was tried in court.
“The use of photography and videos to be really able to tell the story of what happened,” said Steinhauser.
The videos include a robot approaching the gunman’s car just after the shooting. It was not booby trapped but Holmes’ apartment was. There a robot carefully opened the door and inside there was a variety of explosives, including napalm.
While prosecutors sought death, the ultimate outcome was life in prison and a record to be studied for years.
“It’s a system that absolutely did work, people should look at and be proud of,” said Steinhauser.
The evidence is now public record. It could be used in the civil trials by victims filed against the Cinemark movie theater chain, Holmes’ psychiatrist and others. Those trials are set to begin in July 2016.