To prevent accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes from looking guilty to jurors, Judge Carlos Samour will allow him to swap his orange prison jumpsuit for civilian clothes during his trial and sit at the defendant’s table without shackles and chains on his hands and feet.
But what jurors won’t see is a security harness Samour ordered Holmes to wear beneath his clothes that will be anchored to the floor with a cable. The cable will be disguised among computer cords beneath the table.
Although Holmes has appeared quiet and cooperative during his many court appearances since last summer’s shooting rampage that killed 12 people and injured 58, Samour told Holmes he had to be restrained during the trial because of the violent crimes he’s charged with.
Holmes allegedly opened fire with an arsenal of weapons in a packed movie theater during the midnight premier of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20. He was clad in body armor and a helmet and was originally mistaken by police as a law enforcement officer responding to the shooting.
At his Denver apartment, police found a wide variety of booby traps and explosive devices.
Holmes has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and he is currently undergoing a mental health evaluation. Among the many developments in the case as the one-year anniversary of the shooting draws near is that Samour granted psychiatrists an extra six weeks to complete their evaluation.
According to Reuters, state doctors needed more time because of the “extraordinary amount of documentation” in the case. Samour still hopes to begin the trial in February, but has indicated the date could be pushed back.
Also among the new developments is that jurors will not be sequestered during the trial, nor will they be banned from using smartphones, watching TV or using the Internet outside of court, restrictions that Samour called unfair and too burdensome in an Associated Press article.
The jury pool could be the largest in U.S. history, with an estimated 5,000 summonses to be sent out. Samour may also empanel as many as 12 alternate jurors.
Samour also agreed to loosen some of the extremely tight security measures at the Arapahoe County Courthouse and agreed that sheriff’s deputies would stand farther away from Holmes than they have in the past. Some deputies will be seated in plain clothes in the courtroom. The measures were again for the sake of not making Holmes appear guilty to jurors.
Sheriff Grayson Robinson agreed to the new security protocol, according to the AP.
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