Colorado theater shooting case costs $2.2M before trial
DENVER — Taxpayer costs for investigating and prosecuting the Colorado theater shooting case have risen to more than $2.2 million before the trial has even started, and that doesn’t include legal costs for defendant James Holmes.
Officials in the Denver suburb of Aurora, where the July 2012 massacre occurred, say they have spent more than $928,500 on the case. That includes more than $517,000 in overtime pay for police and other city employees.
John Schneebeck, business manager for the Aurora Police Department, said Wednesday the total includes other city departments, but he said a list of those departments and a breakdown of their share wasn’t available.
Schneebeck said more than $200,000 of the overtime was for police officers who responded to the theater and to Holmes’ apartment, where explosives were found. The U.S. Department of Justice reimbursed that expense, he said.
The figures were released in response to a records request by The Associated Press.
Prosecutors previously said they have incurred more than $920,000 in costs directly attributable to the case, not including salaries, which would have been paid anyway. Court officials say they have spent $435,000, mostly on courtroom security.
Holmes’ taxpayer-funded lawyers refused to disclose their expenses, citing attorney-client privilege. Holmes, who had just dropped out of graduate school at the time of the shootings, is represented by state public defenders because he can’t afford a private attorney.
The FBI and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department also refused to release their expenses in the case.
The FBI performed extensive lab tests on evidence and sent agents to testify at pretrial hearings. The agency said releasing its costs could interfere with an active case.
Sheriff David Walcher cited security reasons for not releasing his department’s expenses, noting Holmes is still being held at the county jail.
Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 20, 2012, attack. His trial is expected to start April 27 with opening statements.
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