Aurora massacre families 'disgusted'

The families of victims gunned down during a midnight screening of a Batman film in Colorado last summer have angrily rejected an offer from the cinema to attend a reopening ceremony, branding it "disgusting".

Relatives of nine of the 12 victims said they had been invited to an "evening of remembrance" followed by a movie at the newly refurbished Century 16 complex in Aurora that is scheduled to reopen on 17 January. They said the company also had "awful timing" in sending the invitations two days after Christmas.

"Thanks for making what is a very difficult holiday season much more difficult. Timing is everything and yours is awful," they wrote in a letter to Cinemark, the owner of the complex. They also said the company refused to meet with them one-to-one without lawyers present.

James Holmes, 25, is currently awaiting trial accused of murder after he opened fire at random during a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises last July. Vast amounts of new evidence in the case will be made public next week as a long-awaited preliminary hearing is set to get under way.

After more than five months of wrangling, the prosecution and defence said they were ready to proceed on Monday to the next step in the case against Holmes, accused in the mass shooting that killed 12 and injured at least 70.

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