Jurors see video of theater shooter asking if kids were hurt

Carlos A. Samour, Jr., James Holmes
Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr., top right, presides over the opening of the trial of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, far left, in Centennial, Colo., Monday, April 27, 2015. The trial will determine if he'll be executed, spend his life in prison, or be committed to an institution as criminally insane. (Colorado Judicial Department via AP, Pool)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial got their first look at a video recording of gunman James Holmes asking detectives, “There weren’t any children hurt, were there?”

The video, played in court Monday, shows detectives interviewing a dazed-sounding Holmes at police headquarters about two hours after the attack.

Det. Chuck Mehl testified later that Holmes had seen a sign for the Crimes Against Children Unit in police headquarters while he was being taken to the interview room, which might have prompted the question.

The detectives don’t answer Holmes directly about children but say, “We’ll get to that.”

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the July 2012 attack.

His attorneys acknowledge he was the gunman but say he was mentally ill. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors say Holmes knew what he was doing and should be convicted. They’re seeking the death penalty.

A brief clip of Holmes in the interview room had been played for jurors during opening statements on April 27, but this was the first time his conversation with the detectives was shown in court.

Some of Holmes’s answers are odd. Asked if he needs anything, he says, “Oxygen.” The detectives ask if he is having trouble breathing or wants a fan, but he says no.

When asked how to spell “Holmes,” he answers, “Like Sherlock.”

Testimony resumes Tuesday.

The judge plans to rule Tuesday on whether jurors should see a transcript of another law-enforcement interview with Holmes. The transcript was prepared by prosecutors and reviewed by an FBI agent.

The agent testified during a pretrial hearing that he interviewed Holmes about booby traps at his apartment. Defense attorneys say jurors shouldn’t see the transcript because parts of it were inaccurate and parts of the audio recording of the interview were unintelligible.

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