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Aurora victims' families reject invite to theater reopening, movie

Crime scene tape surrounds the Century 16 movie theater where 12 people were killed in a shooting rampage July 23, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. Getty Images

(CBS/AP) CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The owner of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater where a gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 others last July recently invited the victims' families to attend an "evening of remembrance" and a movie, when the theater reopens later this month.

PICTURES; The Aurora shooting victims

In response, relatives of most of the people killed in the massacre are calling the invitation a "disgusting offer."

The parents, grandparents, cousins and widow of nine of the 12 people killed released a letter sent to the theater's owner, Cinemark, in which they criticized the Plano, Texas-based company

for not reaching out to the families of victims to offer their condolences. They also said the company refused to meet with them one-on-one without lawyers present.

The families said they were asked to attend the scheduled reopening Jan. 17 in invitations sent two days after Christmas.

"Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season that much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful," they wrote.

The company had no immediate comment.

Cinemark has been renovating the Aurora theater, a move the city's mayor said had widespread support in the community. Gov. John Hickenlooper is among those planning to attend the reopening.

The families of some victims have sued Cinemark. The father of the youngest person killed in the shooting, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, is among them. He didn't sign the letter but the girl's grandparents did.

Also Wednesday, prosecutors and defense lawyers said they're ready for a crucial hearing next week in which prosecutors will outline their case against James Holmes, who is charged with

the assault during a midnight showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Night Rises" on July 20.

Holmes is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder and hasn't been asked to enter a plea yet. His lawyers have said he suffers from mental illness.

Next week's preliminary hearing will give the public its first officially sanctioned look at much of the evidence against Holmes.

Complete coverage of James Holmes and the Colorado theater shooting on Crimesider

  • Barry Leibowitz

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