The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 2, 2013

Colo. theater shooting kin reject movie invitation

— CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Relatives of the majority of people killed in a Colorado movie theater rejected an invitation on Wednesday to attend its reopening later this month, calling it a "disgusting offer."

The parents, grandparents, cousins and widow of nine of the 12 people killed released a letter sent to the theater's owner, Cinemark, in which they criticized the Plano, Texas-based company for not reaching out to the families of victims to offer their condolences. They also said the company refused to meet with them one-on-one without lawyers present.

The families said they were asked to attend an "evening of remembrance" followed by a movie when the Aurora theater reopens on Jan. 17 in invitations sent two days after Christmas.

"Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful," they wrote.

The company had no immediate comment.

Cinemark has been renovating the Aurora theater and plans to re-open it Jan. 17, a move the city's mayor said had widespread support in the community. Gov. John Hickenlooper is among those planning to attend.

The families of some victims have sued Cinemark. The father of the youngest person killed in the shooting, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, is among them. He didn't sign the letter but the girl's grandparents did.

Also Wednesday, prosecutors and defense lawyers said they're ready for a crucial hearing next week in which prosecutors will outline their case against James Holmes, who is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 70 during a midnight showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Night Rises" on July 20.

It starts Monday and is scheduled to run all week. At its conclusion, state District Judge William B. Sylvester will decide if the evidence is sufficient to put Holmes on trial.

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