Judge William Sylvester said prosecutors have established probable cause to proceed with 166 felony counts, including murder and attempted murder.
Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes in a courtroom sketch.
Holmes is due to be arraigned Friday, but his defense attorneys filed papers Thursday afternoon saying he’s not ready to enter a plea. They are likely to appear in court Friday to ask for the arraignment to be delayed.
Defense attorneys did not explain why they are not ready for arraignment. Holmes’ lawyers called no witnesses and cross-examined only a few of those summoned by prosecutors during the hearing. But they pointedly raised the issue of Holmes’ sanity at strategic moments, possibly foreshadowing a defense that some believe is his best hope to avoid the death penalty.
“You’re aware that people can be found not guilty on the grounds of insanity?” defense attorney Daniel King asked one witness.
This courtroom sketch shows James Holmes being escorted by a deputy as he arrived at preliminary hearing.
Holmes’ lawyers haven’t said if he will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but since his arrest outside the theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora immediately after the shootings, they have portrayed him as a man with serious mental problems prone to bizarre behavior.
Many legal analysts have said they expect the case to end with a plea bargain rather than a trial.
If found not guilty by reason of insanity, Holmes could conceivably be released someday if he is deemed to have recovered.