A judge has ruled that evidence found in suspected Aurora theater shooter James Holmes' apartment -- including homemade bombs and a calendar with the date of the shooting highlighted -- can be used at his trial.
In a ruling issued Friday, Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos A. Samour wrote that police were "justifed" in the use of a bomb robot in Holmes' apartment without a warrant because there was an immediate potential danger.
Samour wrote that in the aftermath of the shooting, officers described the scene as "mass chaos," "a war zone" and "absolutely chaotic." Officers also had testified that shortly after placing Holmes under arrest, the shooting suspect volunteered that there were "improvised explosive devices" at his house that would not "go off unless [police officers] set them off."
"Had investigators not taken the immediate threat of explosive devices in the defendant's apartment seriously, they would have been derelict in their duty to protect the public and first responders," Samour wrote in the order.
The order details some of the explosive devices that officers found in Holmes' apartment:
There was a "booby-trap-type device directly within the threshold of the front door," which appeared to be "just barely clear of the door swing." It was "a victim-activated device" with a "trip wire" anchored to something "up on the wall" and connected to an open thermos jug lying on top of a pile of shoes. The jug, which contained a clear plastic bottle with some type of liquid in it, was positioned so that the opening was over the top of a frying pan on the floor below it. If a person walked into the room, he would hit the wire, and pushing on the trip wire, in turn, would pull the jug over the frying pan. There was also some white powder on the flood in the threshold of the door. Further, scattered across the floor of the family room, "there were three clusters of what appeared to be explosive or incendiary devices," and in the middle of two of those clusters were "small black plastic boxes with flashing red LED lights" that seemed to be "remote firing devices" for the explosives.
Use of the evidence found in Holmes' apartment during trial next year is an advantage for the prosecution and could potentially undermine Holmes' insanity claim, according to a report by Yahoo News, because they point to planning.
“They show the thinking and the logic and the strategy,” former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole told Yahoo News. “If you’re a bombmaker, you don’t want to think fuzzy. He couldn’t afford to make a mistake.”
The defense has argued that the apartment search was illegal however, and that the evidence gathered inside should not be used against him in court because investigators had not obtain a warrant until the next day.
Holmes' trial is set to begin next year, and jury selection to begin in February. He is accused of killing 12 and injuring 70 in an Aurora movie theater at the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012.
The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
Read the order below in full: