Ballistics investigator testifies in Aurora theater shooting trial

Jurors heard more testimony Thursday in the case of Aurora movie theater gunman James Holmes, who is on trial for the mass shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 others wounded almost three years ago.    

Police spent more than a week inside the Colorado theater collecting bullet casings and cataloging the 240 ballistic impacts as evidence, Maria Pettolina, a crime scene investigator with the Aurora Police Department, told the court.

Pettolina’s testimony began Wednesday and continued into the thirteenth day of a trial meant to determine whether James Holmes was legally insane when he carried out the deadly shooting.

She presented each ballistic impact, which investigators found in seat cushions, railings, soda cups and the walls, The Denver Post reported. One piece of evidence shown was a chunk of drywall, which Pettolina and prosecutor Karen Pearson reportedly took care to display to jurors, wearing blue gloves in the process.

Holmes, who pled not guilty by reason of insanity, faces 166 charges and could receive the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors claim Holmes was not insane when he carried out the brutal murders on July 20, 2012, because he spent a significant amount of time stockpiling weapons and even set booby traps in his apartment made from common chemicals, USA Today reported. Police on Tuesday reportedly testified the traps rigged in Holmes’ apartment were composed of homemade explosives and napalm made from gasoline and Styrofoam cups.     

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