AURORA, United States, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. district court hearing James Holmes's case for his suspected role in killing 12 people in a theater shooting spree decided Friday to postpone his arraignment until March 12.
Judge William Sylvester made the announcement to postponed Holmes's arraignment, the official laying of charges until March 12, despite objections from prosecutors and the overwhelming majority of the victims and their families.
Shortly after the announcement, the court was recessed following an outburst. The father of a victim of the theater shooting yelled "rot in hell!" at the alleged gunman and was immediately detained by Arapahoe County sheriff deputies.
The judge reconvened the court and brought back all parties, including hand-cuffed Steve Hernandez, father of Rebecca Wingo, one of the 12 people killed in the shooting.
"I'm terribly sorry for your loss...I can only imagine the emotions that are raging," Sylvester said in a consoling tone. "But we don't want to have any outbursts," he added.
Hernandez apologized, promised never to act out again, was released and taken out from a back door of the court building. He was escorted to his car by 5 sheriff deputies and refused to talk to the media.
Sylvester ruled Thursday night that prosecutors had presented enough evidence to proceed toward trial - after a week of emotional testimony that included tearful police officers recalling the horror they faced, riveting emergency phone call recordings and disturbing self-portraits taken by Holmes just prior to the shootings.
But Holmes' defense team asked for the delay Friday, saying they needed more time to prepare.
"Their job is to keep him alive...and any delay accomplishes that fact," said Craig Silverman, a criminal defense attorney and former Denver prosecutor who successful tried a capital murder case with a death penalty conviction.
Sylvester asked Holmes if he objected to the delay. Holmes sat motionless and did not respond. Defense attorney Tamara Brady answered for him, saying he did not.
Defense lawyers may be seeking a mental health evaluation by a doctor of their choosing, legal experts contend. If Holmes had entered an insanity plea on Friday, an evaluation would be ordered by the court and performed by state doctors.
Lawyers for Holmes have said he is mentally ill, raising the possibility of an insanity defense.
If the 25-year-old former neuroscience student is convicted of first-degree murder, he would face the death penalty, believed to be the prosecution's goal.