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James Holmes' defense wants more time for key Aurora shooting hearing

Updated at 3:31 p.m. ET

CENTENNIAL, Colo. A hearing to decide if the man accused of opening fire on a Colorado movie theater should stand trial might not be held until January.

One of James Holmes' lawyers, Tamara Brady, told a judge Thursday that the defense must review nearly 19,000 pages of evidence received so far and investigate what they find to prepare for the preliminary hearing.

"We have not begun to understand the nature and depth of Mr. Holmes' mental illness," public defender Daniel King said.

Prosecutors are still processing thousands of pages of medical records on the victims. They say they could be ready for a hearing next month.

But Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman said he wants to consult with victims and their families before agreeing to delay the preliminary hearing, where the evidence against Holmes will be presented.

Judge William Sylvester said he'll make a decision at an Oct. 25 hearing. The preliminary hearing is currently scheduled for Nov. 13. Sylvester set Jan. 7, 2013, as the potential new date for the hearing if he decides to delay it.

Also Thursday, mediator Ken Feinberg is beginning meeting with shooting victims and their families as he decides how to distribute $5 million in charitable donations to them.

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in the July 20 shooting in the Denver suburb of Aurora. The 24-year-old former University of Colorado graduate student has yet to enter a plea.

A lawyer for victims argued against the media's request to unseal more information in the case. Lisa Teesch-Maguire said victims have been harassed after being mentioned in court documents, and have had their photos posted online by Holmes' supporters after they appeared at court proceedings. She didn't specify who was harassing them.

Teesch-Maguire also said the university psychiatrist Holmes was seeing, Lynne Fenton, can no longer live in her house because she doesn't feel safe. She did not elaborate.

Victims originally were identified in a court records listing the charges filed against Holmes soon after the shooting, but their names have been redacted in subsequent documents adding and amending charges. Both prosecutors and the defense want those names and other information kept sealed, including affidavits, search warrants and witness lists.

Sylvester said he would rule by Monday on what details should be redacted.

Holmes appeared in court in leg shackles and a red jail jumpsuit. He still has short brown hair, along with long sideburns and a mustache.

Holmes looked straight ahead at no one in particular and didn't appear to speak to anyone at the defense table during the hearing. He periodically widened his eyes, causing wrinkles in his forehead.

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