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Police: Bombs In Holmes’ Apartment Forced Warrantless Search

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (UPI) — If booby traps found inside the alleged Colorado movie shooter’s apartment had exploded, the effect would have been “devastating,” a bomb squad technician said.

Detective Paul Capolungo, of the Denver police department’s bomb squad, made the statement in a hearing as prosecutors attempted to justify entering James Holmes’ apartment without a search warrant, KMGH-TV, Denver, reported.

Under questioning by prosecutor Rich Orman Wednesday, Capolungo said he found 15 or 20 mortar shells inside the apartment, as well as fuses and other devices.

He described the situation as “highly dangerous,” adding, “If these were to go off in that small an area, that would have been devastating.”

Attorneys for Holmes want to exclude testimony about what was found in the apartment, arguing police entered it without a warrant.

Aurora police Sgt. Michael Holm said a neighbor nearly activated a trip wire that would have set off the charges when she came to the apartment to complain about loud music. She left when she saw the door ajar, The Denver Post reported.

The prosecutor told the court that searches without warrants were allowed when police determined emergency, or “exigent,” circumstances existed.

“The exigency the police faced in entering the apartment was clear as glass,” Orman said.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 166 charges connected to the shooting deaths of 12 people at an Aurora movie theater in July 2012.

The court did not immediately rule whether the evidence would be admitted at trial.

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