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Hearing may be ’mini-trial’ in theater shootings

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 6, 2013 at 12:08 p.m.

— The suspect in the Colorado movie theater killings is returning to court for a hearing that might be the closest thing to a trial the victims and their families get to see.

James Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 by opening fire in a theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora last July.

A weeklong preliminary hearing for Holmes starts Monday. Prosecutors will outline their case against Holmes, making it the first official public disclosure of their evidence.

The judge will then determine whether to send the case to trial.

Legal analysts said the evidence appears to be so strong that Holmes may well accept a plea agreement that would rule out the death penalty.

He faces multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

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