Three jurors were dismissed Tuesday afternoon by the judge presiding over the James Holmes murder trial after they reportedly discussed media stories about the case.
Judge Carlos Samour received a note from a juror who reported another juror, No. 872, said she overheard or read something about media reports, one regarding a motion by a lawyer for a mistrial.
The woman also told two other jurors that one lawyer sent a tweet during testimony regarding the videotaped interviews between Holmes and a psychiatrist that were being shown by the prosecution. She learned of the tweet when she was talking with her husband while on speakerphone in earshot of other jurors.
The judge several times has told the jury during the nearly six weeks of testimony not to discuss the case with anyone, even other jurors. Jurors, who go home each night, were obligated to report any discussions to the judge.
Juror 872 didn’t report the conversation to the judge and was dismissed, as were jurors Nos. 412 and 495. The juror who reported the discussions was not released.
There are now 21 jurors, nine of whom are alternates.
After receiving the note, the judge dismissed the jury for a half-hour break so attorneys could discuss the situation before court resumed.
Holmes, 27, a former doctoral student in neuroscience, is standing trial on charges of capital murder and other offenses. He is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 more at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight” in Aurora, Colorado, on June 20, 2012. He faces 165 counts. Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Holmes admits to the shootings but has said he was suffering “a psychotic episode” at the time. Jurors are faced with the question of whether he knew his actions were wrong.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.