James Holmes, now 27, has been charged with 166 felony counts and faces the death penalty if convicted

By Tara Fowler
Updated May 01, 2015 09:50 AM
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Credit: Jeff Kandyba/AP

Even sitting in the back of a squad car, James Holmes couldn’t help but lean forward to look out the window as first responders treated the victims from the theater he’d opened fire on, killing 12 and injuring 70 more.

“He would look around like he was taking it all in,” Aurora, Colorado, police officer Jason Oviatt testified Thursday, CBS News reports. “He would sort of look around whenever a car went speeding past or when there was something else going on, somebody shouting outside the car.”

In July 2012, Holmes shot up a theater full of people taking in a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. Prosecutors say that Holmes, who’s been charged with 166 felony counts and faces the death penalty if convicted, wanted to kill as many people as possible in the horrific attack. Meanwhile, a public defender assigned to the now 27-year-old has argued that the shooting was the result of mental illness. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Holmes was arrested at the scene. Oviatt told the jury that officers followed a trail of blood from the theater to a white car out back. Initially, Oviatt thought the man standing next to the car was a police officer like him, according to CBS News.

“He was dressed in black and wearing a tactical helmet and gas mask, and at first I thought he was another officer,” he said. “And then I heard somebody inside a dumpster asking if we were cops.”

They put Holmes in a squad car and went to help the victims.

Witnesses to the attack testified Wednesday, recalling the terrifying scene, CNN reports. “I saw him step in,” Katie Medley, who was 9-months pregnant at the time, told the court. “He was wearing a mask and Kevlar. He had a longer gun with a scope on it.”

She ducked – but her husband Caleb Medley didn’t. “I looked up because I wanted to ask him, like, what are you doing, why are you still sitting in the chair and that’s when I saw blood pouring from his face and I knew that he had been shot in the head,” she said.

Katie thought he must be dead, but he’d miraculously survived. “He squeezed my hand,” she said. “I told him that I loved him and that I would take care of our baby if he didn’t make it.”

Though Caleb survived, he lost the ability to walk and can barely speak. He still took the stand himself Wednesday, spelling out his answers by pointing to a board with letters.

Meanwhile, Rita Paulina recalled telling her husband to just leave her there and save their son. “My husband said, ‘No, we promised we’d go together back to Indonesia next year.’ ”

He carried her out on his back. “I prayed to God that if I would have died there, he would take me to heaven,” Paulina said.

Some jurors couldn’t help but cry as they listened to the survivors’ testimony, but Holmes remained stoic, showing no emotion.

The trial will resume Tuesday morning.

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