Movie theater shooting: Judge extends deadline for James Holmes' sanity evaluation, keeps trial date

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The judge overseeing the Aurora movie theater shooting case will allow more time for James Holmes' sanity evaluation but does not want to postpone the murder trial.

In court Tuesday, Judge Carlos A. Samour agreed to extend the deadline for Holmes' sanity evaluation from July 31 to September 16.

The state mental hospital said it couldn't complete Holmes' mental evaluation until mid-September.  The hospital said the delay is partly because the psychiatrist has to review some of the 40,000 pages of evidence in the case.

"I don't think I have a whole lot of choice," Samour said Tuesday about the extension request.

The defense requested and received a court order that will be given to the mental health evaluator in Pueblo, allowing other doctors to provide information on treatments they've given Holmes in the past.

Samour said keeping the trial start date of February 3 would put more pressure on him to issue rulings on upcoming hearings, but said he felt he could do it.

Samour said he plans to send out roughly 5,000 jury summons with goal of getting about 3,200 people to come to courthouse on two consecutive Thursdays and Fridays.  The judge wants to see 400 potential jurors each morning, and another 400 each afternoon during those four days. Samour said he wants to give the oath to each group in person rather than have them answer questionnaires online.

In court Tuesday, Holmes' hair and beard were cut shorter, and he seemed more animated, engaged and alert than during previous court appearances, according to 7NEWS Reporter Tyler Lopez.

The next hearing is scheduled for September 30 at 9 a.m.  That is when the judge will consider whether reporter Jana Winter violated the gag order by reporting about the notebook Holmes mailed to his therapist.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 at an Aurora movie theater on July 20, 2012.

He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.