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Colorado theater shooting jurors see shotgun found among spent ammunition, bone fragment


CENTENNIAL, Colorado — Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial on Tuesday saw the last of James Holmes' arsenal and new evidence of the deadly spray of gunfire that tore through victims and blue upholstered seats, leaving the auditorium littered with spent shells.

Aurora police crime scene investigator Nicholas Carroll testified that he found Holmes' shotgun on the floor inside the movie theater near spent ammunition, a pocket knife and a loaded, high-capacity ammunition magazine.

Carroll and another investigator collected 123 pieces of evidence from inside the theater, mostly fired cartridge casings strewn about the floor. He described finding a bone fragment among them.

Prosecutors had Carroll identify about half of the gathered items while narrating dozens of photos of the bullet casings. Investigators found 76 rounds of spent ammunition, mostly between the front row and the screen, confirming witnesses' testimony that Holmes stood in front of the packed theater when he opened fire.

Jurors last week saw and held Holmes' two Glock handguns and his M&P15 military-style rifle. Police say he used the rifle, the shotgun and one of the pistols in the July 20, 2012, shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 others injured. There was so much evidence, wrapped in heavy plastic bags, that a pair of courtroom tables could barely contain it.

Jurors were allowed to study the shotgun on Tuesday, passing it around sealed in a plastic evidence bag and set in a cardboard box. Police also collected 218 unfired rifle rounds, 16 unfired Glock rounds and seven ammunition magazines, including a 100-round drum that prosecutors say jammed, preventing worse carnage.

Prosecutors also showed jurors a pair of blue folding seats from the movie theater that had been damaged by the gunfire. In the bottom cushion of one, Carroll said he found a quarter that he believed had been struck by a bullet because its edge was dented and deformed.

Also this week, Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. ruled prosecutors should be able to see previously undisclosed evidence from the University of Colorado, including video clips of one of Holmes' neuroscience presentations, which a classmate described in testimony as "painfully awkward."

Samour also approved the disclosure of voicemails, including one from Holmes' university psychiatrist to a campus police officer, relaying a conversation she had had with Holmes' mother about five weeks before the shooting.

Other voicemails include one Holmes' former girlfriend left on the day of the shooting.

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