Victim's father tells accused Colorado gunman to 'rot in hell'

James Holmes

Emotions boiled over on Friday at a court hearing for James Holmes, the man charged with shooting 12 people to death and wounding dozens more at a Batman movie, when the father of one victim shouted, "Rot in hell, Holmes!"

The eruption came as the 25-year-old former graduate student was being ushered out of a suburban Denver courtroom in shackles at the conclusion of the brief proceedings.

Holmes' back was turned to the packed courtroom audience at the time, and there was no visible reaction from him.

But the outburst captured the anguish palpable just beneath the surface among many of those present during three days of wrenching testimony earlier this week about the shooting last summer, the carnage it left and the elaborate preparations Holmes is accused of making for the attack.

On Thursday, Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester ruled that the prosecution's evidence had established probable cause to believe that Holmes committed the crimes alleged against him and ordered him to face trial.

Returning to court with their client on Friday, Holmes' lawyers asked for additional time to prepare for entering a plea, and the judge agreed to postpone the arraignment until March 12.

It was moments after Sylvester adjourned the brief hearing that Steve Hernandez, whose daughter Rebecca Wingo, 32, died of multiple gunshot wounds in the massacre, yelled out in anger.

Sylvester quickly huddled with lawyers in the hallway and reconvened the hearing to admonish Hernandez.

"I can only begin to imagine the emotions that are raging. I'm truly sorry for your loss," the judge told Hernandez, asking that he exert greater self control.

"I meant no disrespect to the court," Hernandez replied, promising "no further outbursts."


Holmes, a onetime doctoral student of neuroscience, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder, stemming from the July 20 rampage at a midnight screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

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