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Associated Press Updated: April 27, 2015 at 5:15 pm


Opening statements begin in Colorado theater shooting trial

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Opening statements have begun in the long-awaited death penalty trial of Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 when he opened fire at a midnight showing of a Batman movie in suburban Denver.

The July 20, 2012, mass shooting was one of America's deadliest.

Holmes' attorneys say he was in the throes of a psychotic episode and couldn't tell right from wrong.

But prosecutors allege he planned the violence for months, amassing an arsenal that included guns, tear gas and body armor. They say he also stockpiled chemicals to rig his apartment into a potentially lethal booby trap.

The trial comes after attorneys and a judge spent 2½ years hashing out legal questions and selecting a jury.


Elko County fight over fish, forest road resumes in US Court

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A 15-year-old legal battle between a Nevada county, the U.S. government and environmentalists has resumed in Reno where Elko County officials are trying to prove a national forest road belongs to them — not the government — because it existed before the national forest was created more than a century ago.

Lawyers for The Wilderness Society called their first witness Monday in what's expected to be a weeklong evidentiary federal court.

They say there's no record of any road along the Jarbidge River before the area near the Idaho line was placed in reserve in 1905 and formally designated part of the Humboldt National Forest in 1909.

The case dates to 1999 when the Forest Service sued Elko County to halt reopening of the washed-out road for fear of harm to a threatened fish.


Pot on probation bill heads to Colorado governor

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado bill to allow medical marijuana use by people on probation or parole is on its way to the governor's desk.

Colorado has allowed medical marijuana use for 15 years, but not by people on probation or parole. A bill that passed the senate 34-1 Monday would change that policy so those with permission to use marijuana for medical purposes wouldn't be charged with violating parole or probation.

The bill has already passed in the House.

Legislative analysts who conducted research for the bill didn't know how many people have been cited for violating parole or probation after failing a marijuana-related drug test.


Fetal homicide bill approved by Senate, but prospects dim

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's Republican Senate has approved a bill creating a new crime of fetal homicide in response to an attack on a pregnant woman last month in Longmont.

The bill faces one more vote in the Senate but then moves to the House, where it faces certain rejection.

Current Colorado law includes a crime of unlawfully terminating a pregnancy. But murder charges can't be brought in such cases because the baby isn't born.

The Colorado debate was inspired by the case last month of a pregnant Longmont woman who was attacked last month. The woman survived but the baby did not. The case revived debate about whether unborn babies need additional protections.

Democrats who control the House fear the change could endanger reproductive rights.


Grand Junction man denied bail pending trial in wife's death

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Grand Junction TV station KKCO reports ( ) a judge has ordered a man jailed without bond pending retrial in his wife's shooting death.

After Michael Blagg's conviction was thrown out last year, Judge David Bottger had ruled the case had reverted to its pretrial status, including the reinstatement of a $500,000 bail. Monday, Bottger said he had erred and was now ordering Blagg held without bond.

Blagg was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2004 in the 2001 death of Jennifer Blagg. The judge later determined a juror lied when she said she had never experienced domestic violence because she wanted to sit in judgment of Blagg.

The Blaggs' 6-year-old daughter was reported missing in 2002 and is presumed dead. No charges were filed in her disappearance.


Body cameras, citizen recordings of police, up for votes

DENVER (AP) — Three bills aimed at expanding oversight on Colorado law enforcement are starting to move through the Senate as the legislative session nears its end.

One proposal would encourage the use of officer body-worn cameras through a grant program. Another bill would add civilians to the state Peace Officers Standards and Training Board to give the public more influence over how police agencies operate.

A third measure would require law enforcement to have consent or a warrant to seize a citizens' recording of police activity.

The three bills have already cleared the House. They're up for their first vote Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The legislative session ends May 6, so lawmakers will have to expedite the bills if they want to see them pass.


Colorado carnival morphs into mob scene; crowd fights police

(Information in the following story is from: The Gazette,

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Three teens have been arrested after a carnival turned sour and police struggled to control a hostile crowd of more than 150 people.

The Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper reports that police were called to Wright's Amusements Giant Carnival on Saturday evening to break up a 15-person fight.

But sheriff's office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby said it was more like 75 people by the time deputies arrived.

She said 25 deputies were surrounded by a jeering crowd before Colorado Springs police turned up to help about 45 minutes later.

At one point, the angry crowd tried to tip over the ticket booth with attendants inside.

Kirby said the crowd continued to taunt officers after things died down by throwing dirt, rocks and bottles.

No one was injured.


Governor's aide steps in to head Colorado insurance exchange

DENVER (AP) — The board of directors of Connect for Health Colorado says a top aide is leaving the governor's office to lead Colorado's health insurance exchange.

In a statement Monday, the board said Kevin Patterson will resign as Gov. John Hickenlooper chief administrative officer to become interim chief executive officer of Colorado's Health Insurance Marketplace. Patterson succeeds Gary Drews, who also had been interim, since August. The board says it chose a second interim leader as it reviews the CEO search process with legislators.

Colorado has avoided problems associated with other state exchanges. But a limited December state audit report noted a lack of adequate financial controls and said more than $30 million in payments and contracts lacked proper documentation or procedural controls. Lawmakers have called for broader reviews.


Nepalese band holds concert despite homeland's deadly quake

(Information in the following story is from: KCNC-TV,

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A Nepalese band took the stage for a planned concert in Boulder despite hearing the news that thousands of their countrymen had been killed by a natural disaster.

KCNC-TV in Denver reports that the rock band played at the Glenn Miller auditorium on Sunday night and took the opportunity to raise money for their homeland following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the country Saturday.

Band members told KCNC-TV that they arrived in the U.S. days before the earthquake and are eager to get home.

The band's drummer said his family fears damage from aftershocks and has been sleeping outside under a tent.

He said he felt that god or another higher power sent the band to Boulder and felt they should play on.

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