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Prosecution rests in movie theater shootings trial of James Holmes

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Posted at 5:43 PM, Jun 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-19 17:43:28-04

"Your honor, the people of the State of Colorado rest."

With that, District Attorney George Brauchler concluded his case-in-chief in the Aurora movie theater shooting trial.

He made the declaration following the much-anticipated, emotional testimony of Ashley Moser, who was paralyzed in the shooting, lost her unborn child and also lost her 6-year-old daughter. Veronica Moser-Sullivan was the youngest of the 12 people killed in the July 20, 2012 shooting that also injured 70 others.

Brauchler's staff is pursuing the death penalty against the shooter, James Holmes. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

When the defense begins to present their case on Thursday, after a five-day weekend, we can expect the team of public defenders to present about two weeks of testimony focused on the defendant's sanity.

The trial began on April 27, with opening statements. Thirty-four days of testimony have followed, with hundreds of pages of evidence and testimony from hundreds of witnesses.

Two state-appointed psychiatrists have told the jury they believe the gunman was legally sane at the time of the shooting. The defense will need to convince the jury to that testimony is incorrect, if they are to prove their insanity defense in the coming weeks.

Defense attorneys stood, after the prosecution rested their case and the jurors were led out, to move for acquittal. They argued that the case presented so far has not proven the gunman reached a "culpable mental state" and did not form the requisite intent for the 165 charges. They also argued that he did not intend to cause they death of any specific person.

Prosecutors, of course, denied that assertion and argued against it. They cited the defendant's web searches and firearms purchases as evidence of their argument. They also submitted that "he went in there with the intent to kill everyone in the theater," something the prosecution believes they proved in several ways -- including by admitting the gunman's notebook into evidence.

Prosecutor Richard Orman also pointed out that crime scene investigators found 76 spent rounds inside the theater.  He also pointed out the gunman started with over 700 rounds.

"But for the malfunctioning of the drum magazine and other facts and circle, he would have killed a lot more people," Orman said.

He also countered the argument that the shooter didn't intend to cause any specific death by recalling that survivors testified he aimed at people who were trying to flee.

"I don't even need to talk about deliberation," Orman said. "There was so much evidence of that."

Judge Carlos Samour methodically denied each of the defense's arguments, agreeing with Orman's statements.

“At this time, the motion for judgment of acquittal is denied," he concluded.