Booby Traps and Sock Puppets: James Holmes' Pre-Trial Hearing Continues

Booby traps, tear gas, and home-made napalm alleged by Holmes prosecutors.

Karen Pearson, the lead prosecutor, leaves with members of her team during a recess in a preliminary hearing for James Holmes at the courthouse in Centennial, Colo., on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013.
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A preliminary hearing to determine if there's sufficient evidence to try James Holmes has painted a strange and disturbing picture of the Aurora, Colo., shooting suspect.

In the hearing's first two days, prosecutors meticulously detailed the events that transpired that night, playing 911 calls and submitting exhaustive eye-witness testimony from police in laying out their case against Holmes, who faces 166 counts of murder, attempted murder, and weapons charges.

Perhaps to fight off a possible insanity defense expected from Holmes lawyers, the prosecution also described the two months of planning that preceded the shooting. Witnesses said Holmes purchased four firearms, two tear gas grenades, more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition, and bevy of chemicals and remote devices he later used to booby-trap his apartment, the Associated Press reports.

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The prosecution also used Holmes' online dating profiles, which alluded to the incident through questions such as "Will you visit me in prison?" according to ABC News. The prosecution pointed out that Holmes purchased his movie ticket for the July 20 showing of "Dark Knight Rises" on July 8, two weeks ahead of time, according to NPR.

FBI agent Garrett Gumbinner testified that Holmes booby-trapped his apartment with explosives to attempt to divert police resources away from the movie theater where the shooting took place.

The apartment's carpet was soaked in gasoline and covered in rows ammonium chloride. Other parts of the trap included improvised napalm and glycerin, which would fuel the fire and explosion set off by the trip-wired front door. Holmes' played loud music in hopes of inciting police to respond to the apartment for a noise violation, the AP reports.

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A second trigger was located on a trash can outside in the form of a remote control car. Holmes hoped a passerby would attempt to drive the car using the remote control, which was rigged to ignite the apartment.

Holmes' defense attorneys worked to paint a different picture of Holmes, one of a mentally disturbed person, according to the Los Angeles Times. They focused on testimony describing his bizarre behavior following his arrest.

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A police interrogator testified that Holmes played as if his hands, which were bagged to preserve gunshot residue, were sock puppets and attempted to stick a staple into an electrical socket. The defense closely questioned the first responder to the scene, who said Holmes was also sweating profusely, had dilated pupils, and appeared detached from the scene.

The preliminary hearing is expected to last until Friday, at which point District Judge William Sylvester will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to take the case further, and whether Holmes is fit to stand trial.

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