July 23rd, 2012
12:11 PM ET

Death penalty decision months away, DA says

Editor's note: The man accused of opening fire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, is set to make his first court appearance Monday, giving the public its first look at the suspect since his arrest in an attack that authorities say was planned months in advance. We're live blogging the court appearance, which begins at 11:30 a.m. ET.

[Posted at 12:11 p.m. ET] The district attorney's press conference has concluded.

[Posted at 12:11 p.m. ET] Carol Chambers, Arapahoe County district attorney, on Monday urged anybody who still has information that may be pertinent in the case to contact the police or the district attorney's office.

[Posted at 12:09 p.m. ET] Asked by a reporter if any medication or sedatives had been provided by the jail to Holmes, Chambers said she had no information about it.

[Posted at 12:07 p.m. ET] "It's still a very active and ongoing investigation," Carol Chambers, Arapahoe County district attorney, said Monday.

[Posted at 12:06 p.m. ET] Domestic terrorism charges would not be something state prosecutors would consider in the case, Carol Chambers, Arapahoe County district attorney, said Monday.

[Posted at 12:04 p.m. ET] Victims' families will be consulted before a decision is made on seeking the death penalty for Holmes, Carol Chambers, Arapahoe County district attorney, said. That decision is months away, she said.

[Posted at 12:02 p.m. ET] Carol Chambers, Arapahoe County district attorney, said "there is no such thing as a slam dunk case" and prosecutors would be working hard to prove the charges against James Holmes.

[Posted at 11:45 a.m. ET] Holmes' hair was dyed a bright orange during his court appearance Monday.

[Posted at 11:41 a.m. ET] Holmes' expression has changed little during the court hearing. He has mostly been staring off into space.

[Posted at 11:34 a.m. ET] Formal filing of charges will be Monday, July 30, at 9:30 Colorado time, the judge says.

[Posted at 11:32 a.m. ET] Holmes didn't look at the judge as the hearing started, just down as he was read his rights.

[Posted at 11:31 a.m. ET] James Holmes appears before Judge William B. Sylvester. He is wearing a maroon jumpsuit.

[Posted at 11:27 a.m. ET]  The public information officer for Colorado courts tweets that the district attorney in the James Holmes case will hold a press conference after the hearing.

[Posted at 11:09 a.m. ET]  James E. Holmes, 24, is likely to face charges of first-degree murder - an offense that carries a possible death penalty, if he is convicted - in the shooting deaths, given allegations over the weekend by police that there is evidence to suggest "calculation and deliberation" in the rampage.

Holmes is being held in connection with the early Friday morning shootings that left 12 dead and 58 wounded, and the subsequent discovery of his booby-trapped apartment, which authorities believe he rigged before leaving for the Century Aurora 16 multiplex.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about a possible motive in the case, and police spokesman Frank Fania told CNN late Sunday that Holmes has been uncooperative with investigators and requested an attorney.

Arapahoe County public defender James O'Connor has been assigned to the case. The Colorado Judicial Department declined to say whether Holmes requested a public defender. A telephone call by CNN to O'Connor's office was not immediately returned.

Holmes' court appearance will come a few hours before his family is expected to break their silence with a statement.

The family, which lives in San Diego, has not spoken publicly since the allegations against Holmes. They issued a short statement Friday saying they did not wish to be disturbed "at the time of this tragic event."

Background of Colorado shooting suspect full of contrasts

Remembering the victims

soundoff (1,254 Responses)
  1. starman

    He looks depressed. I hope they ground it into this guy that he murdered an innocent 6 year old child.... That would bring him back to reality fast.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • reddogg

      If he is put into the general population, he will never live - regardless of what crimes the prisoners have done, they do not tolerate the killing of kids – at least the majority of them that is – they will not let him live and so he will likley be put into solitude by himself for a very long time UNLESS they sentice him to a crimanally insane location that is.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Umair

    If James Holmes was muslim, the shooting would be 'terrorism'. If he was Black, he'd be a 'thug'. But he's White, so it's a 'mental illness

    July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • lam81208

      Where did it say mental illness?

      July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • malibu123

      ...and your point is.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thayer

      The Norway killer was a terrorist. This guy is a phychopath. You're a racist and a moron who doesn't know what the meaning of "terrorist" is.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • JR

      You might want to get yourself examined also.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ubu

      What's your point?

      July 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • MATT

      Idiots the world over are rolling out this tired response. Terrorism has to be politically motivated. This guy was just an idiot, therefore not terrorism. The majority of right minded people on earth are united in their disgust over Muslim terrorism, stop trying to turn this into that dull argument. Break from the sheeple and have an informed opinion.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Omni

      Yup. That's how it is. Thug is the new N-word. I thought you knew.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • walk

      Atleast white people are not making excuses for him and say that the blacks, muslims, etc just do not understand what he has gone thru. Screw that, if youre not part of the solution you are part of the problem. I am tired of hearing excuses.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby

      no. if he had a reason for the shooting it would be terrorism, as of right now he doesn't seem to have had any political aims.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • pennylane

      Someone always has to throw in the race card....why can't it just be the fact that here are evil people out there...the sheer fact that he planned this for days shows he was sane, and it should be enough to give him the death penlaty. His victims didn't have a choice, he should be allowed to have one either.....

      July 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • zillakas

      Your comment is absolutely ridiculous. Turning this matter into a racial issue proves your ignorance. He isn't getting any special treatment for being white. He will have his ass handed to him just like he would have for being any other race. Just because he isn't black, hispanic, or arab doesn't mean that he will be treated any differently. I don't understand why people are getting mad that Holmes is described in the media as a top student. It's the TRUTH people. Yes he was a top student, yes he is probably mentally ill, yes he is EVIL and yes he deserves to die a painful death. But saying that he is being called mental just because he is white will only cause issues that aren't relevant or helpful to America's situation at all.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • PARWEZ

      umair ur right

      July 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      WE GET IT. Ive seen that stupid comment a millions times by other people.
      By the way he is nuts. He dyed his hair red, called him self the Joker, and booby trapped his apartment. Safe to say he's mentally ill.
      If he was part of a gang and was robbing people we'd call him a thug.
      If he was praising Allah while killing people we'd call him a terrorist.
      Enough with the race baiting bs

      July 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      I agree with you 100%.....depending on your race is how they determine your motive.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vegasjim

    He may look out of it, but remember he is extremely intelligent with a background in neuroscience. He would know how to act and appear as insane.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • jady

      the kid has to be whacked out i mean he shot up a theatre. there certainly has to be deep mental issues. I doubt they'll let him plead insanity since it was premeditated though.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. reddogg

    It would appear that he fasioned himself after the Joker in the Batman stories and movies and of course, the Joker is insane. I would be wlling to bet that he will try to get a hearing judging him insane and then be senticed to a crimianlly insane location and woudl not surprise me if he doesn't try to escape and run amuk again - watch him folks, this guy is a cold, calculating person and knows exactly what he is doing.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Hangman

    More gun control!! Yeah, right. So, let's see... if he took a vehicles and slaughtered 50 people by driving into a crowd that means that we need background checks when anybody buys a vehicle and a 5 day waiting period, right?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • j

      24 year old college student purchasing 4 guns in a 2 month period and 6000 rounds of ammunition and there's no red flag?
      I'm all for the right to protect your life and property, but what was he protecting...his school books? At least if law enforcement were notified, perhaps they would have interviewed him or kept tabs on him. Maybe he would have changed his mind if he knew law enforcement was watching him.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. conlibe

    Black shooter: Monster! White shooter: Psychotic!

    Now the media is beginning to TRY to paint the 24 year-old Aurora, Colorado gunman as “Psychotic.”

    Of course James Holmes is Psychotic…the only murderers who:

    Have NO diminished capacity
    No psychoses
    No mental illness
    No childhood traumas

    Are those black kids running around the inner city shooting other kids because the offending kid stepped on the gunmen’s unlaced sneakers. Sound unhinged to you? Of course not!

    The media, some MORE so than others, immediately started labeling Holmes as "Psychotic and mentally ill" WITHOUT EVEN WAITING FOR A MEDICAL OPINION.

    Holmes may well BE psychotic, I'm NOT saying he isn't.

    I'm saying the media seem to think that there must only be ONE explanation why an intelligent child of affluent white parents will kill and that is psychoses.

    Guess everybody in the KKK is psychotic?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jara

      always have to bring race into it. ridiculous.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Dude, get off your racism kick. Not everything has an element of racism. If this guy were black he would be psychotic as well. Or if you would like to call this guy a monster, then I doubt anyone would disagree with you. Stop your racism BS.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    The 11:45am update says his hair was "dyed a bright orange during his court appearance" - why did the court dye his hair during his appearance? Couldn't they have dyed it before or after? It seems like a waste of taxpayer money.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    He claimed He is the Joker. in movie, Joker's hair is Green. Shooter is the IDIOT, Not Joker!!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dick

    This is not about him as he is demanding attention which he will get from the media but about those 12 people and all the injured and all the children who view this B.......d and are in fear. Rengence is mine says the Lord and no doubt he will get it. If he was able to function well enough to fire all those shots he is capable of standing trial.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. vaporware2000

    '[Posted at 11:45 a.m. ET] Holmes' hair was dyed a bright orange during his court appearance Monday.'

    Why did they dye his hair while he was in court?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. malibu123

    Hold his head underwater until he stops moving and be done with it.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. roscoe

    Wow – that's the image that the surviving victims, their families and families of the deceased want burned into their memories forever. Not saying nut cases look sane but this guy's appearance is really disturbing.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sally

    Large purchases of ammunition by one person, especially over the Internet, could be tracked. If we are going to monitor other things, it would seem that Homeland Security could get a red flag on those kind of purchases.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Olivia

      I agree. Seems like a red flag would have gone up somewhere. It was reported that he spent over $3000 over the internet on guns, ammo and explosives. Why it was not reported, who knows? All of these weapons going to one residential address??????

      July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cameron


    July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anonymous

    The hair looks even better in the jump suit.

    CNN- you are glorifying him by giving him so much media coverage. This is WHY terrorists do what they do. To get attention. When will our country realize this?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
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