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Hearing may be 'mini-trial' for suspect in Colorado movie theater shootings

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FILE - This file photo provided by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office shows James Holmes, who faces faces multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the July 20 Colorado theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. and hasn't yet entered a plea. Prosecutors and defense lawyers were heading back to court Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 in advance of a crucial hearing in the case. The preliminary hearing, which starts Monday, Jan. 7, will give the public its first officially sanctioned look at much of the evidence against Holmes. Holmes' lawyers have said he suffers from mental illness. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, State District Judge William B. Sylvester will decide if the evidence is sufficient to put Holmes on trial. (AP Photo/Arapahoe County Sheriff, File) (The Associated Press)

The suspect in the Colorado movie theater killings is returning to court for a hearing that might be the closest thing to a trial the victims and their families get to see.

James Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 by opening fire in a theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora last July.

A weeklong preliminary hearing for Holmes starts Monday. Prosecutors will outline their case against Holmes, making it the first official public disclosure of their evidence.

The judge will then determine whether to send the case to trial.

Legal analysts say the evidence appears to be so strong that Holmes may well accept a plea agreement that would rule out the death penalty.

He faces multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

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