Theater shooting juror with unvaccinated grandchild rips out own hair, dismissed

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Centennial, CO (KDVR) — A potential juror in the Aurora theater shooting trial was released from duty Tuesday morning after showing up to court with an allegedly unvaccinated grandchild who she said daycare wouldn’t accept, and then falling to her knees while tearing out chunks of her own hair when the court asked if she could try to find care for the child and return at a later date.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour said members of his staff separated the potential juror from her grandchild as she fell into a state of hysteria, and that sheriff’s deputies restrained the woman and took her to a private conference room.

When the potential juror calmed down and was able to speak, Samour said she told the deputies that the trial had brought up traumatic memories from her past. After hearing the story, both the prosecution and defense agreed to release her.

Initially, the woman informed the court when she arrived for jury duty Tuesday morning that she had her grandchild with her. She continued to state that no daycare services would accept the child because he or she was unvaccinated. Samour also stated for the record that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of an unvaccinated child in his courtroom, either.

Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman did not object to Samour’s suggestion to dismiss the juror. However, the defense for James Holmes, the admitted gunman in the July 2012 theater shooting that left 12 dead and 70 others injured, asked that she be rescheduled if she could find care for the child.

It was when she was asked about rescheduling possibilities that the potential juror fell to the ground and reportedly began tearing out large chunks of her own hair.

Those chunks of hair were visible on the floor where the woman was awaiting the court’s decision, Samour said, which prompted a question from Orman as to whether any other potential jurors saw the commotion. During Tuesday afternoon’s court session, Samour confirmed the woman was alone in Division 207 and not in the presence of other potential jurors when she “lost it.”

In total, 66 jurors were dismissed from Tuesday morning’s court session. According to the Samour’s previously mentioned averages, over 1,000 jurors have been dismissed as of Tuesday morning, with 1,400 others remaining in the pool after completing the jury questionnaire.

This first phase of jury selection is slated to run until Feb. 9. The next phase of the process, individual juror questioning, is slated to begin on Feb. 11, and is expected to last 16 weeks.

The court hopes to have 12 jurors selected along with 12 alternates by late May or early June.

By Will C. Holden