James Holmes to stand trial for Colo. theater massacre, judge rules

James E. Holmes, in a courtroom sketch, arrives for a preliminary hearing in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shootings. (Bill Robles / L.A. Times / Jan. 7, 2013)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. --  James E. Holmes will stand trial in the Aurora theater rampage that left 12 people dead and another 70 wounded, a Colorado judge ruled Thursday night.

Judge William Sylvester found enough evidence to bind the suspected gunman over for trial on 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and weapons charges. Sylvester ordered that a previously scheduled Friday hearing be Holmes' arraignment.

Defense attorneys have said he is mentally ill, leading to speculation that they will offer an insanity defense. But in a motion earlier Thursday, they said they were not ready to enter a plea. They are likely to ask for a continuance.

Holmes, 25, is accused of storming a theater July 20 during a post-midnight premier of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

A three-day preliminary hearing for the former neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Colorado-Denver wrapped up Wednesday.

-- By Jenny Deam / Los Angeles Times