- - Thursday, January 10, 2013

DENVER — A judge ruled late Thursday that there is enough evidence for James Holmes to face trial on charges that he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a Colorado movie theater last summer.

Judge William Sylvester said prosecutors have established probable cause to proceed with all 166 felony counts they filed against him, including first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree murder with extreme indifference, and attempted murder. He ordered that Mr. Holmes continue to be held without bail.

Mr. Holmes is due to be arraigned Friday, but his defense attorneys filed papers Thursday afternoon saying he’s not ready to enter a plea. Judge Sylvester noted Mr. Holmes‘ attorneys will likely ask in court Friday that the arraignment be delayed.

Defense attorneys also objected to media requests to bring cameras into the courtroom.

Judge Sylvester’s ruling came after a three-day hearing earlier this week, in which prosecutors laid out their case against Mr. Holmes, 25.

NEW JERSEY

NYC-bound commuter bus hits school vehicle, injures 17

OLD BRIDGE — A New York City-bound commuter bus hit a small school bus from behind, knocking it onto its side, and then slammed into a tree, injuring at least 17 people, two critically, authorities said.

No students were on the Old Bridge school bus, which was on its way to pick up children at an apartment complex, officials said.

The tree caved in the front of the commuter bus, shattering its windshield and pinning the driver’s legs. A large branch protruded from the vehicle’s roof.

The accident occurred one day after a high-speed commuter ferry from New Jersey crashed into a dock in Manhattan, injuring dozens.

The Academy Bus was about midway through its route from Toms River to Wall Street in Manhattan, with four stops left on the run, said Joe Orlando, spokesman for Academy Bus. He didn’t know how many passengers were aboard though he said the bus could carry 55.

CALIFORNIA

Alligator guarding stash of drugs taken to zoo

CASTRO VALLEY — Authorities in California say an alligator named “Mr. Teeth” who apparently was protecting a stash of marijuana has been taken to Oakland Zoo.

When Alameda County Sheriff’s investigators entered Assif Mayar’s home on Wednesday afternoon for a probation check, they found not only 34 pounds of marijuana valued at an estimated $100,000 but also a 5-foot gator inside a tank in a bedroom.

Sgt. J.D. Nelson says Mr. Teeth was likely used to deter marijuana thieves. Mayar, 32, told investigators he got the gator to commemorate rapper Tupac Shakur’s 1996 death.

He was arrested and jailed on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale.

Officials say Mr. Teeth is very sick and being treated at the zoo’s veterinary hospital.

NEW YORK

Police: Man planned to ‘blow up’ iconic arch

NEW YORK — A man accused of keeping bomb-making materials in his Greenwich Village apartment told acquaintances late last year that he planned to blow up the Washington Square Park arch, police said Thursday.

The acquaintances also have informed police that in another encounter with Aaron Greene, they saw him sprinkle white powder on the sidewalk inside the park and ignite it, said Paul Browne, chief spokesman for the New York Police Department.

Investigators believe the powder was hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, a highly explosive ingredient used in bomb making that was discovered last month in the apartment Mr. Greene shared with his girlfriend, Morgan Gliedman, Mr. Browne said.

Though Mr. Greene’s motives remain unclear, investigators have uncovered undated letters that he wrote, including one with the words “kill them all” and signed with a Nazi SS lightning bolt symbol still used by neo-Nazi groups, police said.

There was no immediate response to a message left Thursday with an attorney for Mr. Greene.

NEW JERSEY

Parents plead guilty in heroin death of infant

TOMS RIVER — The parents of a New Jersey infant who died of heroin intoxication in 2008 pleaded guilty to manslaughter after admitting they rubbed heroin on the baby’s gums because he was teething.

Just how the 11-month-old boy known as “Baby JM” ingested the heroin had remained a mystery until investigators in Ocean County got new information in the Seaside Heights case in October.

Ocean County prosecutors said Thursday that Denise Manco, 35, and Rondell Moore, 37, entered guilty pleas earlier this week to one count of second-degree manslaughter. They face up to 10 years in prison at sentencing, which is set for Feb. 22.

Authorities say both defendants admitted placing heroin in the baby’s mouth and rubbing it on his gums because he was teething.

GEORGIA

Man who handcuffed self to woman sentenced

RINGGOLD — A north Georgia man who handcuffed himself to a female Taco Bell co-worker has been sentenced to serve four years in prison.

The Rome News-Tribune reports that Jason Earl Dean, 25, of Dalton handcuffed himself to the 18-year-old woman in August 2011 in an attempt to persuade her to go on a date with him.

Lookout Mountain Assistant District Attorney Alan Norton says a Catoosa County Superior Court judge sentenced Dean to four years in prison followed by six years on probation. Dean had been charged with false imprisonment.

Mr. Norton says Dean also is not allowed to have any contact with the victim or her family.

MICHIGAN

Ex-aide says then-mayor took bribe in men’s room

DETROIT — A former aide to Kwame Kilpatrick ended the first leg of his testimony Thursday by saying he delivered a $10,000 bribe to the then-Detroit mayor in a restaurant bathroom.

The testimony came the same day that Michigan prison officials ordered Kilpatrick to wear an electronic tether and live with his mother while they investigate whether he violated parole by failing to report a $2,000 cash gift from a Chicago minister.

Derrick Miller said Thursday the money came from developers and was solicited by Kilpatrick. Prosecutors have turned Miller over to defense attorneys for cross-examination. Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and pal Bobby Ferguson are charged with rigging contracts and taking payoffs. Miller was a defendant, too, until pleading guilty to corruption in 2011.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports