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Dec 26, 5:06 PM EST

13 excused from jury pool in theater shooting case

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- Twelve potential jurors in the Colorado theater shooting case have been excused because they are prosecution witnesses, and another was dismissed because she works for the district attorney's office.

The dismissals, made public Friday, were believed to be the first since 9,000 juror summonses were mailed Dec. 11.

The judge wants to choose 12 jurors and 12 alternates to hear the case against James Holmes, who is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the attack on July 20, 2012.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The selection process formally starts Jan. 20 and is expected take up to five months, with opening arguments in late May or early June.

The names of the first 13 to be excused were redacted from court documents.

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