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Victim describes 'Batman' massacre, as testimony begins

28 April 2015, 19:26

Los Angeles - A survivor of the 2012 "Batman" theater massacre described in harrowing detail Tuesday the mayhem that ensued when accused gunman James Holmes opened fire inside a packed auditorium, in opening testimony at his long-awaited trial.

Katie Medley, the first witness to take the stand, was nine months pregnant when she, her husband Caleb and a female friend went to see the "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012.

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About 15 minutes into the midnight showing, Medley saw the exit on the right side of the auditorium open and a canister thrown into the air above the audience. A lone gunman, wearing a mask and body armor, came through the door.

"As he stepped in, I thought something was very wrong. I put my arm around (her friend) Ashley and threw her to the ground," Medley said. Gunfire began almost immediately.

Later, she looked up and saw her husband still sitting upright in his chair.

"I saw he had been shot in the head and I thought he was dead," she said. The air was thick and it was very hard to breathe, she added.

After the gunman walked past the row they had been seated in, Medley said she saw that Caleb was breathing again and had a lot of blood pouring into his mouth.

After another round of gunfire, she took his water bottle and tried to wash the blood from his face.

"I saw the exit open again, and I saw there were cops outside," Medley said. "I grabbed Caleb's hand and he squeezed my hand."

Thinking her husband was near death, "I told him I would protect our child if he didn't make it. We ran to the exit and I was wearing flip flops and slipped in blood. There was a lot of blood. A cop actually caught me."

As she and her friend sat on the curb outside the theater, she saw first responders bring her husband out.

"I saw them put Caleb on the sidewalk and I saw he was still breathing, but they had to lay him on his face because they were afraid he would aspirate (blood into his lungs)."

Caleb Medley underwent several surgeries to remove part of his brain while Katie Medley went into labor at the same hospital. She gave birth to a son, Hugo, while Caleb remained in a medically induced coma for a month.

Transferred to a rehabilitation hospital, the aspiring comedian has undergone intensive rehabilitation since the shooting. Today, he cannot walk and has difficulty speaking.

Wheeled into the courtroom after his wife's testimony, Caleb Medley used an alphabet board to spell out his name for the courtroom.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 70 at the suburban Denver movie theater. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and explosives charges.

Attorneys for the defendant, a 27-year-old failed graduate student, have not cross-examined any witnesses so far. Defense attorneys said in opening arguments they would not contest anything that happened in the theater.



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