The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 8, 2013

Colo. shooting families listen to police testimony

(Continued)

Sgt. Gerald Jonsgaard recalled not finding a pulse on the youngest victim, 6-year-old, Veronica Moser-Sullivan. In talking about not finding a pulse on her, Jonsgaard had to stop talking because he was about to break down in tears.

Two pathologists testified that the victims who died were shot anywhere from one to nine times. Matthew McQuinn, 27, who dived in front of his girlfriend to shield her from the bullets, was shot nine times.

Holmes, now 25, is charged with more than 160 counts, including murder and attempted murder. The hearing will allow the judge to determine whether the prosecution's case is strong enough to warrant a trial, but it's rare for a judge not to order a trial if a case gets this far.

Legal analysts say that evidence appears to be so strong that Holmes may well accept a plea agreement before trial.

While prosecutors have yet to decide on whether they will seek the death penalty, such a plea could get Holmes a lesser sentence, such as life in prison; help the state avoid a costly trial; and spare survivors and families of those who died from the trauma of going through a lengthy trial.

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