CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Prospective jurors in the Colorado theater shooting case presented a judge with a number of excuses on Wednesday for not serving on the panel that decides if defendant James Holmes was insane at the time of the deadly attack.
By early afternoon, Judge Carlos Samour had excused 11 people who had doctors' notes, didn't speak English, or weren't residents of Arapahoe County, where the 2012 attack occurred.
However, in a sign of how difficult it might be to get excused, a summons for a woman who reported being "violently ill" and requested an ambulance was only delayed.
A total of 269 potential jurors reported to court Wednesday to begin filling out lengthy questionnaires for prescreening. The figure was about twice as many as Tuesday, the first day of selection.
Some made excuses to the judge in written notes. One said he runs his own orthodontics business that would suffer if he had to serve. Another said he knew a police lieutenant in Aurora, where the shooting happened.
One prospective juror snapped a cellphone photo of the questionnaire against the orders of Samour. A deputy made the man delete the image.
It could take until June to seat jurors and alternates for the trial of Holmes, who is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity..
Defense attorney Dan King cautioned in court that releasing too many potential jurors too soon could be a problem.
"You have to consider the fact that people may not want to sit on this jury," he told the judge.
Samour, however, said the selection process was on pace despite snowy weather in the area.
Holmes sat quietly during the proceedings, his hands in his lap. He was dressed in khaki slacks and a blue blazer.
Court officials initially summoned 9,000 prospective jurors, but that figure fell to about 7,000 after some summonses could not be delivered and some people were excused.