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. Tom

    He looks stoned, crazy or both.
    He could be pretending.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cindy Kumontis

    This man is not insane! He knew what he was gona do for months. He is very intelligent. He was acting in the court room. He did all the things that you would think a crazy person would look like. I think he was trying to look crazy. When he walked in he made eye contact with the media...then the show began. He looked up when the male attorney walked over.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • BD76

      I agree. Some people are saying that it was a psychotic break etc., but this was very much planned. It was not like he snapped suddenly. This was very methodically planned to small details, including setting his music to play at home while he was at the theater. You can argue that he was crazy..and that I do not disagree with. Anyone that commits murder is crazy to an extent. The difference here is that he was educated enough to know right from wrong and did it anyway.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stelvio

    He is already getting his act and show on. Him staring in space, looking down and away from the judge is all an act so that he can get to plead insanity. That way he will be sent to rehab and will be integrated back into society in a few years.

    Disgusting, but true.

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

      "A couple of years"? Do you really think they would let this man be integrated back into society after 13 people were killed? No way

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

      Can you please tell me which cases of a man methodically and sadistically murdering innocents has the convicted gotten out in a few years?

      Can you tell me the stories where a man dressed as the joker and shot up a lot of folks in which the assailant was NOT crazy? what sane person does that?

      Like it or not...those are the acts of a mad man and he'll be in the hospital for ever if not executed.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hmm

    I wouldn't characterize his facial gestures as "expressionless" or "staring off into space". His furrowed brow and wobbling head suggest hie's overwhelmed by the reality of what he caused.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark L.

    All I really wish to say is lethal injection will be much too easy for this monster. Bring back to electric chair, at least for this murderer !!!!

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

      Lock him up and study him forever. test drugs on him...but, no....let him live a nice long tortured in his own mind existence.

      Killing these psyco's does nothing since 95% of the time they kill themselves. The fact we caught one alive is a fantastic opportunity. get the brain scanners on him STAT.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JS

    You can tell he is already faking the body language to make himself look crazy so that he can possibly get off on an insanity plea. He has a degree in neuroscience; he knows how to play the part. I hope they pick up on his little act. This man is not crazy, he is simply evil. There is a difference.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Penny Nickels

    I look at the picture of him with his flaming red hair and think "Aww, that poor guy". Then I look at the picture of the 6 year old girl and the other people he killed, and I think something totally different.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nate

    Why do we even need to have a trial for this? Just shoot him dead. This just proves to me the system is ridiculous.

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

      The system has to be fair, and take its time, so people know it is fair.

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

      Why we have to have a trial for this is the same reason you're allowed to voice your opinion in this first place, fellow Nate.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tr1Xen

      I said this earlier and I'll say it again... 𝑾𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆'𝒔 𝑱𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝑹𝒖𝒃𝒚 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅 𝒉𝒊𝒎?
      If something like that were to happen, it would save taxpayers so much money and you know the vigilante would see jury nullification like never before... ESPECIALLY if it was a family member of one of the victims who shot his sorry a5s.

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

      Its called laws in sure you would like to have them protect you some day but of not maybe iraq is the Iraq for you

      July 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tr1Xen

    WOW. This guy is bonkers. I wish something heavy would fall on his head. The guards ought to beat him to death in the broom closet and say it was an accident.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kwon

    Hey guys doesnt the Joker get EXECUTED in the movie, any ideas............ okay ^_^

    July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Luke

    Looks like he has been shot full of thorazine – how did a freak like that get into medical school?
    he doesn't look like a scientific genius to me – he looks like a mental patient.

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

    so the media can't get the number of dead / wounded correct. This whole thing was nothing more than a distraction from something else. Lives were lost and that sucks.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Justin

    He needs a psych. evaluation. By the looks of him, there's something wrong upstairs... put him away in a psych ward for life

    July 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rafik

      Nope. He carefully planned and carried out these horrific acts, but did not have the courage to do a suicide by cops. He needs to be judged and dispatched asap.

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

      Are you kidding me? He obviously was smart enough to plan all of this out well ahead of time with knowledge of what he was doing. He should and will face the death penalty. Letting him live and live off of our tax money is a slap in the face to all the victims and their loved ones.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      Too late for that. If there's one thing the media has done over the past few days, it has been to erase any doubt that this guy was intelligent and calculating. It's arguable that, like many before him, he was attracted to the neurosciences because he thought that there was something wrong – perhaps anti-social in his psyche. That is not the same as insane. He should have calculated a trip to a psychiatrist into his calculations.

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

      If he's sane enough to ask for an attorney, he's sane enough to stand trial.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Do NOT put him in psych ward. That is what he probably wants. If he gets off with insanity plea, he won't get death sentence. Keep that monster in prison until he can be fried.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • B. D

      oh please, he's probably smarter than half the people in that room. He's acting so that it helps his insanity plea. Hopefully jurors will see through that b.s.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • jb13

      Which is exactly what he wants you to think. Remember, the guy was a top level medical school student...

      July 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sabrina

      He studied mental illness. He's not crazy, just ruthless. Why put him away for life, that's just wasting taxpayers money. He killed people, now he needs to meet his maker as well.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • riamb60

      Remember he studied the brain.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      He planned it out. He should be in a prison not a psych ward.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lean6

    Finally more appropriate imagery of this mass murderer...instead of the inappropriate, favorable pictoral mischaracterizations of a great guy gone off-track, or a misguided figure with great potential that the media was pedaling up until now.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jopop23

    Heaven forbid if this guy had an unfortunate ACCIDENT ???????

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