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Accused Colorado Shooter James Holmes Appears in Court

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(AURORA, Colo.) -- Accused Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James Holmes appeared in court Wednesday, where a judge set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 7 that is expected to last several days.

Hundreds of people including witnesses, victims and families are expected to attend.

Prosecutors say part of the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing will include recordings of calls to 911 and approximately 30 hours of video from inside the Century 16 multiplex.

Holmes was in court Wednesday, his brown hair slightly grown out and now wearing a full beard.  He did not speak and sat quietly at the defense table.

Both sides told judge William Sylvester that they are ready to proceed on Jan. 7.

At a preliminary hearing, prosecutors must convince the judge there is enough evidence against Holmes to proceed to a trial.  As part of that process, law enforcement investigators are expected to testify about details of the case that have never been revealed before.

The preliminary hearing will be held in the largest courtroom available in Arapahoe County, Colorado, which holds about 100 people.  Overflow crowds will be able to watch the proceeding on a video and audio feed in several rooms around the court complex, including a jury assembly room that has space for about 300 people.

Holmes is accused of murdering 12 people and wounding 58 others when he allegedly opened fire at a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.  His defense team believes Holmes is mentally ill.  He has not entered a plea.

The theater where the shooting occurred is set to reopen on Jan. 17.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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