CRIME

Emotional testimony from survivors in theater shooting trial create challenges for defense

  • FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2013 file photo, Aurora Police Officer Justin Grizzle leaves court after testifying at a preliminary hearing for Aurora theater shooter James Holmes at the courthouse in Centennial, Colo. In testimony last week, Grizzle told of carrying victims Caleb Medley in the back of his patrol car and begging him not to die as he sped to a hospital. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2013 file photo, Aurora Police Officer Justin Grizzle leaves court after testifying at a preliminary hearing for Aurora theater shooter James Holmes at the courthouse in Centennial, Colo. In testimony last week, Grizzle told of carrying victims Caleb Medley in the back of his patrol car and begging him not to die as he sped to a hospital. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2014, file photo, George Brauchler, left, district attorney of Arapahoe County, Colo., heads into a hearing in Centennial, Colo., in the murder trial of Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes. After a week of emotional testimony from survivors, defense attorneys have urged jurors not to let emotions sway them, but with weeks of harrowing testimony still to come, experts say James Holmes’ lawyers will have a difficult time convincing jurors to put sympathy behind them as they decide whether he was legally insane when he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in July 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2014, file photo, George Brauchler, left, district attorney of Arapahoe County, Colo., heads into a hearing in Centennial, Colo., in the murder trial of Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes. After a week of emotional testimony from survivors, defense attorneys have urged jurors not to let emotions sway them, but with weeks of harrowing testimony still to come, experts say James Holmes’ lawyers will have a difficult time convincing jurors to put sympathy behind them as they decide whether he was legally insane when he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in July 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Monday, April 27, 2015, sketch by courtroom artist Jeff Kandyba shows Caleb Medley, who was shot in the head during the massacre at the theatre in Aurora, Colo., during the opening day of the trial of shooting suspect James Holmes in Centennial, Colo. Defense attorneys have urged jurors not to let emotions sway them, but with weeks of harrowing testimony still to come, experts say Holmes’ lawyers will have a difficult time convincing jurors to put sympathy behind them as they decide whether he was legally insane when he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in July 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Kandyba, File)

    FILE - This Monday, April 27, 2015, sketch by courtroom artist Jeff Kandyba shows Caleb Medley, who was shot in the head during the massacre at the theatre in Aurora, Colo., during the opening day of the trial of shooting suspect James Holmes in Centennial, Colo. Defense attorneys have urged jurors not to let emotions sway them, but with weeks of harrowing testimony still to come, experts say Holmes’ lawyers will have a difficult time convincing jurors to put sympathy behind them as they decide whether he was legally insane when he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in July 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Kandyba, File)  (The Associated Press)

Prosecutors in the Colorado theater shooting trial have worked to paint a powerful image of grief and gore that experts say could be hard for defense attorneys to overcome.

They've already called more than two dozen witnesses, each with tragic stories of what happened in the suburban Denver movie theater where James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 more. Half-empty tissue boxes littered the floor of the courtroom after a day of dramatic testimony.

Joseph Rice, a managing partner of the Jury Research Institute, says it's almost impossible for jurors to ignore so much emotion.

He says defense attorneys should give jurors the tools to focus on the issues in the case.

Jurors must decide whether Holmes was legally insane at the time of the July 2012 attack.