(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) — The father of a young woman allegedly slain by James Holmes in the Aurora movie theater massacre yelled “Rot in hell, Holmes” during a court hearing Friday.
The outburst by Steve Hernandez prompted judge William Sylvester to have an off-the-record conference with prosecutors and defense attorneys. Sylvester then reconvened court to address the issue while armed court deputies watched over Hernandez at the front of the gallery.
Hernandez’s daughter, Rebecca Wingo, was one of 12 murder victims when Holmes allegedly opened fire in the crowded movie theater July 20 during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Wingo, 32, was the mother of two young girls.
“I am terribly sorry for your loss,” Sylvester told Hernandez. “I can only begin to imagine the emotions that this is raising.”
He then lectured Hernandez about the decorum order in place to prevent outbursts in the courtroom.
“I meant no disrespect,” Hernandez apologized, promising there would be no further trouble and he was let go.
The judge decided on Thursday night that there is enough evidence against Holmes to proceed to trial and scheduled Holmes’ arraignment for March 12. Holmes will enter a plea at the arraignment.
In an order posted late Thursday, the judge wrote that “the People have carried their burden of proof and have established that there is probable cause to believe that Defendant committed the crimes charged.”
The ruling came after a three-day preliminary hearing this week that revealed new details about how Holmes allegedly planned and carried out the movie theater shooting, including how investigators say he amassed an arsenal of guns and ammunition, how he booby-trapped his apartment to explode, and his bizarre behavior after his arrest. Holmes is charged with 166 counts, including murder, attempted murder and other charges. The shooting rampage left 12 people dead and 58 wounded by gunfire. An additional 12 people suffered non-gunshot injuries.
Sylvester also ordered that Holmes be held without bail.
Holmes’ attorneys have said in court that the former University of Colorado neuroscience student is mentally ill. The district attorney overseeing the case has not yet announced whether Holmes, now 25, may face the death penalty.
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