Colorado to tighten gun control with 3 new laws
Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign three bills into law Wednesday, including one that will require a 15-ammunition limit on magazines.
March 19th, 2013
04:16 AM ET

Colorado to tighten gun control with 3 new laws

After witnessing two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, Colorado is expected to pass a series of gun control laws Wednesday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign three bills into law Wednesday, his office said. The new legislation includes:

– A 15-ammunition limit on magazines;

– A universal background check for prospective gun buyers; and

– A requirement for gun purchasers to pay for their own background checks

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Filed under: Colorado • Gun Control • Gun violence • Politics
March 12th, 2013
12:59 PM ET

Lawyers not ready to enter plea for Holmes

[Posted at 12:59 p.m. ET] A judge on Tuesday entered a standard plea of not guilty for James Holmes, the man suspected in a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, after he and his attorneys said they were not ready to enter a plea.

Holmes' attorneys had suggested in court documents that they might enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for the shooting rampage at the theater that left 12 people dead and 58 injured on July 20, 2012.

[Posted at 1:11 a.m. ET] James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people in a Colorado movie theater last summer, is expected to enter a plea Tuesday.

On Monday, a judge ruled that if Holmes pleads guilty by reason of insanity, he will have to waive all medical confidentiality and turn over the name of any doctor or psychologist who may have treated him.

Judge William Sylvester also said Holmes will have to agree to a state psychiatric exam and to be drugged by doctors to assess his condition.

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime
March 4th, 2013
05:25 PM ET

Colorado Interstate closed after 30-car crash

A 30-car accident and bad weather caused the closure of Interstate 70 in and around Vail, Colorado, around 1:30 p.m. MT (3:30 p.m. ET), said Mindy Crane, the spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

"We were seeing blizzard conditions up in that area," Crane said, adding the closure will likely be "fairly lengthy." "We have not been able to find out if there are any injuries or fatalities."

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Filed under: Colorado • Travel • Weather
Holmes' lawyers blast Colorado insanity laws
Lawyers for James Holmes say parts of the state's insanity defense laws are unconstitutional.
March 1st, 2013
10:02 PM ET

Holmes' lawyers blast Colorado insanity laws

Lawyers for James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting suspect, took aim against the state's insanity defense laws in court documents made public Friday.

"Colorado's statutory scheme regarding the affirmative defense of insanity, and the introduction of any 'mental condition' evidence at trial or sentencing, is unconstitutional in many individual respects," they wrote in a 60-page motion and brief filed Thursday.

The lawyers said parts of the state's insanity defense laws are unconstitutional.

Among other issues, they cited the requirement that a defendant "cooperate" with examining psychiatrists as a violation of the defendant's privilege against compelled self-incrimination.

Prosecutors have not said whether they will pursue the death penalty against Holmes, who is charged with 166 counts, including murder, attempted murder and other offenses in the July 20 shooting rampage in a movie theater that left 12 people dead and scores injured.

Holmes is awaiting formal arraignment on the charges.

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Filed under: Colorado • Courts • Death Penalty • Justice
February 28th, 2013
10:04 AM ET

Parents: School punishing transgender child

The parents of a transgender girl rejected a central argument Thursday from the school that won't allow their child to use the girl's restroom.

"They're punishing a 6-year-old for something that hasn't happened and may not happen," said Kathryn Mathis, mother of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, who was born with a boy's body but identifies as a girl.  Mathis and her husband Jeremy, sitting alongside their daughter, spoke with CNN's "Starting Point."

The Colorado school, in a December letter to the parents, said that "as Coy grows older and his male genitals develop along with the rest of his body, at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls' restroom."

A legal fund has field suit on the family's behalf, putting Colorado's anti-discrimination law to a new test.

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Filed under: Colorado
February 27th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Complaint filed in transgender child's case

A civil rights complaint is being filed on behalf of a transgendered child barred by her Colorado school district from using girls' restrooms, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

The complaint to a Colorado civil rights agency, on behalf of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, will be the first to challenge a restriction on a transgender person's bathroom use under Colorado's anti-discrimination laws, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund told reporters in Denver.

First-grader Coy, who was born with male sex organs but identifies herself as female, had been allowed to use her school's girls' bathrooms until school officials barred her from doing so after winter break, her family says.

Suspect in Ridgeway killing to be tried
Austin Reed Sigg, a student at Arapahoe Community College, is charged in girl's death.
February 22nd, 2013
07:08 PM ET

Suspect in Ridgeway killing to be tried

Austin Sigg must face trial on 18 of 20 counts relating to the killing of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway and an attack on a jogger last year, a spokesman for Colorado’s courts said Friday in a Tweet.

Rob McCallum made the announcement after Sigg appeared before Jefferson County Judge Stephen Munsinger in a preliminary hearing. The arraignment is set for March 12; Sigg remains on no-bond hold.

Filed under: Colorado • Courts • Justice
Aurora shooting suspect's defense team gets more time
Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes will be arraigned in March, a judge ruled Friday.
January 11th, 2013
11:58 AM ET

Aurora shooting suspect's defense team gets more time

Lawyers for James Holmes, accused of killing 12 and wounding scores more in last summer's mass shooting inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, will get more time to prepare his defense, a judge has ruled.

Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester granted a defense motion for a continuance at today's expected arraignment. It now is scheduled for the week of March 12. The judge said Friday he was concerned that the case would be appealed if he moved too fast. Holmes' defense lawyers will have to review a mountain of documents, DVDs and CDs before the March court date.

Read more: Remembering the victims

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime • Justice
911 calls from theater shooting: Sobbing, gunfire, confusion
A sketch of defendant James Holmes in a Colorado court. A preliminary hearing is being held in his case this week.
January 8th, 2013
02:26 PM ET

911 calls from theater shooting: Sobbing, gunfire, confusion

Emergency phone calls from last July's Colorado movie theater shooting in a court hearing - played by prosecutors in a court hearing this morning - reveal some of the horror and confusion from that night.

Because the movie was still playing during the shooting and, in at least one call, the gunman was still stalking the theater, the calls are difficult to make out. In one, there's too much sound to make out what the caller was saying, but the gunshots were unmistakable: At least 30 gunshots in 27 seconds.

In another, a 13-year-old girl called to say her cousins had been shot. A 911 operator tried to lead the sobbing girl through performing CPR on one who was still breathing.

Tuesday's proceeding was a preliminary hearing for James Holmes, a 25-year-old former neuroscience graduate student accused of killing 12 people at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado.

December 18th, 2012
09:54 AM ET

4 dead in Colorado shooting

Four people have been found dead today in a Colorado house in an apparent murder-suicide, a Weld County sheriff's spokesman has told CNN's Christine Sever.

The dead are two men and two females and all are believed to be related, the spokesman, Tim Schwartz, said.

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime
November 10th, 2012
10:35 PM ET

Southwest plane skids off Denver taxiway

A Southwest Airlines plane that had just landed in Denver slid off the taxiway while heading to the terminal, the airline said Saturday.

CNN affiliates KMGH and KUSA said the incident occurred at 5 p.m. during a light snowfall and freezing temperatures.

The nose wheel of Flight 1905 from Oakland, California, went off the taxiway, said Southwest spokeswoman Katie McDonald.

The 125 passengers and five crew members were not injured. The airline was working to accommodate the passengers on other flights.

Passenger Brad Harris told KMGH  the jet hit a patch of ice.

Passengers were taken on buses to the terminal at Denver International Airport.

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Filed under: Air travel • Colorado • Travel • Uncategorized
Police: Denver-area officer mistakenly shot, killed by fellow officer
Lakewood, Colorado, police Officer James Davies, 35, was fatally shot by a fellow Lakewood officer Friday morning.
November 9th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Police: Denver-area officer mistakenly shot, killed by fellow officer

A Denver-area police officer was fatally shot by a colleague who mistook him for an armed assailant early Friday, authorities said.

James Davies, a 35-year-old police officer in Lakewood, Colorado, was shot outside a house that he and fellow Lakewood officers - including the firing officer - were checking after hearing shots fired there, police spokesman Steve Davis said.


Student, 17, arrested in Jessica Ridgeway killing
Austin Reed Sigg, 17, was arrested this morning.
October 24th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

Student, 17, arrested in Jessica Ridgeway killing

Editor's note: A 17-year-old student was arrested Tuesday evening in this month's killing of 10-year-old Denver-area girl Jessica Ridgeway, according to police in Westminster, Colorado.

Austin R. Sigg, who lived not far from Ridgeway, will be charged as an adult in her death and in a separate, attempted abduction in May, authorities say.

[Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET] One of Ridgeway's great-grandmothers, Donna Moss of Independence, Missouri, told CNN affiliate KSHB that she wouldn't be able to look in the suspect's face "and not be judgmental."

"It's all I've got within me to not want to just burn him. And I mean burn him," Moss told KSHB on Wednesday.

"For me, my steps have to be one step at a time to forgiveness," Moss said. "Because yes, I am really angry."

[Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET] The student arrested in Ridgeway's death, 17-year-old Austin R. Sigg, will be tried as an adult, Jefferson County District Attorney Pam Russell said Wednesday.

Charges probably will be filed on Monday, Russell said. Authorities said earlier that Sigg, who was arrested Tuesday night, will face murder and kidnapping charges in death of Ridgeway, who is from Westminster in the Denver area. Sigg also will be charged with attempted kidnapping and attempted murder charges regarding allegations that he tried to abduct someone else on May 28 at Ketner Lake in Westminster.

Sigg and Ridgeway lived about one mile apart, on opposite sides of Ketner Lake, CNN affiliate KMGH reported.


Police: Cross could help find Colorado killer
This is the cross police are asking the public to help identify.
October 19th, 2012
07:14 PM ET

Police: Cross could help find Colorado killer

Two weeks ago, 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway disappeared.

Last week, police said she was dead.

Now, they are asking for the public's help to identify a cross that authorities say could lead to her killer.

Police from the girl's hometown of Westminster, Colorado, on Friday released several images of a wooden cross recovered during the investigation. It is about 1 1/2 inches tall and 1 inch wide, with a hole drilled through it so it can be worn as a pendant.

The cross has three vertical stripes etched onto the horizontal section and a zigzag pattern on the opposite side, according to police.

"Authorities are looking for someone who may carry or wear this type of cross, may have recently purchased one of these, or is known to have some association with one," they said in a statement.

Police believe there may be a connection between Jessica’s killing and an attempted abduction at Ketner Lake, also in Westminster. A suspect from that attempt has been described as a light-skinned male with a medium build and brown hair. He is thought to be between 18-35 years old.

Jessica was last seen by her mother as she left for school October 5. Her body was found last week at a park in Arvada, a Denver suburb five miles from Westminster.

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime • Justice • Uncategorized
Police believe murder suspects committed arson to hide clues
Police say they believe the five people found dead in Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver were killed before a fire was set there.
October 18th, 2012
12:35 PM ET

Police believe murder suspects committed arson to hide clues

[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET]  Three men accused of killing five people at a bar and then setting a fire to cover their tracks are in custody, Denver police said Thursday.

Officers arrested Dexter Lewis, 22; Joseph Hill, 27; and Lynell Hill, 26, late Wednesday night in connection with the deaths, Police Cmdr. Ron Saunier said.

The case seems straight out of a TV crime drama.

When firefighters arrived at the burning Fero’s Bar and Grill early Wednesday morning, they found five bodies inside - four women and a man.

But as investigators checked the corpses, they began to suspect the fire probably hadn’t killed the victims. Each body showed obvious signs of trauma, which police said prompted them to think someone set the blaze to hide evidence of murders.


August 1st, 2012
11:24 AM ET

Legal analyst: Why Colorado shooting suspect was charged in 'unusual' way

Editor's note: Paul Callan is a CNN legal contributor, a criminal defense attorney and a former New York homicide prosecutor,  including in the "Son of Sam" case. He is a senior partner at Callan, Koster, Brady & Brennan, LLP. Callan spoke with CNN about the charges that Aurora, Colorado, shooting suspect James Holmes is facing.

Can you explain the charges James Holmes is facing?

Paul Callan: Colorado prosecutors have charged the defendant, James Holmes, with 142 counts of criminal conduct for his alleged role in the Colorado movie theater massacre. The staggeringly large number of serious charges is not surprising given the number of victims in the case. (Twelve people were killed and 58 others injured.)

While prosecutors could have proceeded with a more streamlined case, they have elected the safer route of charging as many crimes as possible as the prosecution begins. The case can be streamlined later on if problems develop in proving some of the crimes listed. Additional charges may also be lodged in the future relating to the incendiary devices found by law enforcement authorities at Mr. Holmes' apartment.

Why is Holmes facing two charges for each person who was either killed or injured in the shooting? Is there a strategy behind this?

Callan: Prosecutors have elected to assert two counts of first-degree murder for each person who was killed as a result of the hail of gunfire in the Aurora movie theater. This approach is somewhat unusual.

The first of each of the murder counts alleges that Holmes “after deliberation” intentionally caused the death of his victims. This is the traditional premeditated murder charge that is used in cases of intentional murder throughout the United States. Prosecutors will seek to prove that the murders were planned and that Holmes formed an “intent” to kill his victims before pulling the trigger.

A second more unusual first-degree murder count was added for each victim charging that the manner in which the killings took place evinced "... an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. …” In many states, this is called a “reckless indifference” murder and is quite different from intentional, premeditated murder. It requires an act of callous and reckless indifference to the value human life which causes death.

An example might be a drunken driver who speeds down a busy city sidewalk, striking and killing pedestrians in the process. Even though the killings may not have been planned or even intended, the conduct is so grossly reckless and maliciously indifferent to the possibility that someone might be killed that the law says it is just as bad as premeditated murder. In fact, in Colorado intentional murder and extreme indifference murder both carry the same potential sentences: life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Prosecutors have hedged their bets by adding the “extreme indifference” counts because proving the intent to murder each individual victim may be problematic. Some victims may have been killed by ricochets, or it is even possible that Holmes’ weapon was aimed at the screen when some of the fatal shots were fired. We won’t really know all of the details until the evidence is presented.

Should Holmes' lawyers assert that mental illness prevented him from forming the specific intent to kill particular victims, these additional counts will give jurors an alternative theory of guilt. Firing a weapon of any kind in a crowded theater would easily constitute an act of “extreme indifference” murder under Colorado law.


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Filed under: Colorado • Crime
Overheard on 'It's time America takes a stand against evil'
Alex Teves, 24, was beloved, even inspiring an "Alex Teves Day" at school. He died in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting.
July 30th, 2012
07:14 PM ET

Overheard on 'It's time America takes a stand against evil'

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Family and faith got readers talking over the weekend. Here are five of the conversations we noticed on Monday as we wandered in to work.

1. The Alex Teves challenge

Alex Teves died shielding his girlfriend from the rain of bullets during the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting. His father, Tom Teves, wants the media to stop naming and showing images of the gunmen in mass murders. His "Alex Teves challenge" has gotten a powerful response from readers.

Look to the good in humankind - look to heroes, says grieving father

One reader compared the image above to a powerful painting.

lxNay: "That image above, with Alex gazing at the ocean, is exactly like work by the German artist Caspar David Friedrich. In particular, 'Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.' That is quite a profound image, breathtaking actually. When I think of Friedrich's work, I imagine a solitary man contemplating his destiny and future. I wonder if that is what Alex was doing? What a loss. My thoughts are with the family and families."

Many people shared condolences and said they wanted to take the challenge. FULL POST

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Filed under: Colorado • Justice • Media • Overheard on • U.S.
July 30th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Colorado theater shooting suspect charged with 142 total counts

[Updated at 12:31 p.m ET] The suspect in Colorado shooting case has been charged 24 counts of first-degree murder.

Holmes was charged twice for each victim who was killed.

Read the full complaint

There are three different classes of murder charges in the state of Colorado. One set of charges is because Holmes is accused of shooting after deliberation, referring to the planning of the attack. The second set of charges is because he is accused of having an attitude of universal malice, manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Holmes was also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder, one count that is a sentence enhancer because of violence and one count for possession of explosive devices.

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said last Monday that deciding whether to pursue the death penalty would involve input from victims and their relatives. A capital case would require a finding of either extreme indifference or deliberation.

[Updated at 12:17 p.m ET] James Holmes, the man accused of opening fire this month inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, has been officially charged with a total of 142 counts, including first degree murder in relation to the shooting.

[Posted at 11:30 a.m. ET] The man accused of opening fire this month inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater will have his second court appearance Monday, when he is to face formal charges.

James Holmes is suspected of killing 12 people and wounding 58 during a Batman film premiere on July 20. He is also being held in connection with the subsequent discovery of his booby-trapped apartment, which authorities think he rigged before the massacre in the Century Aurora 16 multiplex.

Holmes is to be led Monday morning through an underground tunnel that connects the courthouse to the Arapahoe County Jail, where he has been held in isolation without bail.

At his court appearance, which starts at 11:30 a.m. ET, he is expected to face 12 charges of first-degree murder, charges of attempted first-degree murder and charges related to the booby-trapped apartment.

In his initial court appearance last Monday, the 24-year-old former doctoral candidate - his hair dyed various shades of orange - appeared dazed and did not speak.

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said last Monday that deciding whether to pursue the death penalty would involve input from victims and their relatives. A capital case would require a finding of either extreme indifference or deliberation.

Authorities have remained silent about a possible motive in the case.

More on Colorado shooting:

HLN: What's jail like for suspect?

Pastor: Where God was in Aurora

Document: Suspect in theater shooting was psychiatrist's patient
July 27th, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Document: Suspect in theater shooting was psychiatrist's patient

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes was a patient of a University of Colorado psychiatrist before last week's attack at a movie theater that killed 12 people and wounded scores, according to a court document filed Friday by his lawyers.

The disclosure was in a request by Holmes (pictured) for authorities to immediately hand over a package he sent to Dr. Lynne Fenton at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus.

According to Holmes' request, the package seized by authorities under a July 23 search warrant was a protected communication.

"The materials contained in that package include communications from Mr. Holmes to Dr. Fenton that Mr. Holmes asserts are privileged," the document said. "Mr. Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected."

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Filed under: Colorado • Courts • Crime • Justice
Overheard on Readers want to think about victims, not shooter
Many readers said they want to pay tribute to the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting.
July 23rd, 2012
08:43 PM ET

Overheard on Readers want to think about victims, not shooter

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

After the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and dozens injured, readers are pondering what this incident means to them. Many of them want most to pay tribute to those who lost their lives. If you knew one of the victims, please consider sharing your story at CNN iReport.

Remembering the Colorado shooting victims

Some of our commenters were people who said they knew the victims.

Christa Leary: "Jesse Childress was a wonderful friend and colleague with a wonderful sense of humor and a love for the Broncos that he never let me forget. You were taken from us too soon. We miss you Jesse."

One reader was touched by the life of the youngest one.

Janet J: "My heart is literally in pieces. Words cannot express, words are not enough to describe the pain and agony I am feeling for these victims and their loved ones they've left behind. As hard as it is to not give this evil attention; how do you not? Trying to make sense of something that should not and does not make sense is what we are trying to do. ... Good luck to us. The most important thing is we not forget these beautiful souls. I will read their stories from time to time. We cannot let evil prevail ... we will walk in this darkness toward the light that will shine brightly one day. Veronica, your life was taken much too soon, before you could really get to know this world. You are in a better world now. May God give these families, their friends and the rest of society the strength, courage and faith to be able to see past this tragedy. Console them, console us and show yourself strong."

This person came to know more about one of the victims after her death. FULL POST

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime • Overheard on • U.S.
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