CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The judge hearing the case against James E. Holmes, the gunman accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens more at an Aurora movie theater in July, agreed Friday to postpone Holmes’s arraignment for two months at the defense’s request.
Judge William B. Sylvester ruled late Thursday that there was enough evidence presented during a three-day preliminary hearing for Holmes to stand trial on 166 counts of murder, attempted murder, and other charges. But he agreed Friday to postpone the arraignment to March 12, to give Holmes’s defense lawyers more time to enter a plea.
Sylvester said that while he empathized with the victims’ desire to move forward, he decided it was appropriate to give the defense more time to prepare for the arraignment hearing, given the trove of evidence to be reviewed. Prosecutors had objected,saying they were ready to move forward immediately.
Victims of the attack and their family members sitting in the courtroom gallery were visibly upset at the prospect of having to wait for Holmes to enter a plea. As the lawyers and the judge discussed the matter, several victims and family members stormed out of the courtroom.
As the court was adjourning, Steve Hernandez, whose 32-year-old daughter, Rebecca Wingo, was killed in the theater, shouted: ‘‘Rot in hell, Holmes!’’
The outburst prompted the judge to reconvene the court and gently admonish Hernandez.