Well-wishers donate $4.4 mn to US cinema shooting victims

Posted at 08/17/12 9:25 AM

CENTENNIAL, Colorado - Well-wishers from the United States and around the world have donated $4.4 million to a fund for the victims of a mass shooting at a US movie theater, a court heard Thursday.

Chief Judge William Sylvester agreed to allow prosecutors to release the victims' names and contact information to the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, which works with victims of crimes and natural disasters.

"We understand some of the victims are in dire straits, needing money to pay rent and buy food," said Senior Deputy District Attorney Richard Orman, pressing the court to move speedily on the issue.

On July 20, 24-year-old graduate student James Holmes burst into a showing on the latest Batman film in Aurora, in the suburbs of the western US city of Denver, and opened fire, killing 12 moviegoers and wounding 58.

Holmes, his bright orange hair color fading to pink after four weeks in jail, was present for the 35-minute hearing but did not speak. He faces a possible death penalty if convicted of the murders.

The court received about 100 pages of documents from the University of Colorado Medical School, where Holmes was a neuroscience graduate student before the shootings.

Next week, attorneys will discuss whether the documents may be released to prosecutors as they build their case.

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