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. Keith Elliott

    Given the nature of the crime, he seemed very out of it. It appears he is on something, for when you see his eyes closely, they are heavily dilated, indicating he is "high". How would he be or get himself drugged while in custody? What was his game anyway, for most who are engaged in such a horrific crime, plan their death or to be killed long before a courtroom appearance.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wisconsinite

    Has anyone checked this dude for a brain tumor? Just saying.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    I know the evidence is overwhelmingly against him, but many people are stating they know with 100% certainty the accused knew what he was doing and 100% he is insane and blah blah, well... you don't know. Yes you can interpret that he looked mentally out of it/drugged, and you can also interpret the way he looked as if he didn't care. All I'm saying is nobody knows what is going on in this man's head and why he did it, so stop getting all worked up.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonnie

      With a crime this heinous, I'm not sure it matters what his state of mind is. He should be put to death. Slowly and painfully.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    As a society, we have to accept that people can do horrible things that we cannot fully hold them accountable for. You can't take 12 lives from James Holmes. There is no true justice, just the aftermath. Our best outcome is to try and understand and move forward to help prevent this from happening over and over throughout our lifetimes.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gem

    After watching it a few times, I do thin he's acting as well. But, he may be a hint sedated....

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

    I'd have to say i'm among the majority here in the fact that i believe that was a total show in the courtroom today. He was, in my opinion, clearly trying to act 'insane' or out of it. My reasoning behind this was one moment during the preceedings, amongst all his drowsy eye nonsense, someone/something clearly appeared/happened outside of camera view to his right and there was no sluggish movement of his eyes to see what was going on. He looked over at whatever was going on as quick as anyone of us would if something caught our eye, then it was back to the droopy eyes and all the other bs he was displaying. I DO believe in the death penalty, and someone with this low of a moral compass who shows the amount of disregard for human life as he did, clearly deserves and SHOULD BE given the needle!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robert

    I clicked on the James Holmes video to see this guy and was surprised to see a pre-roll video of a True Blood spot. The video starts out with people walking through rain that was actually blood. You guys might want to pull that video for awhile

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bonnie

    This case is just sickening. I feel so bad for the attorney who was picked as a public defender to defend this cold-blooded murderer. Anyone who kills a six-year old little girl deserves to die in the most slow and painful way possible. I hope he has fun in Hell.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Will

    I think Holmes knew exactly what he was doing. And this is two-fold.

    1. He meticulously planned the killing pior.
    2. He studied and was an honor student in the field of neuroscience. He is probably an expert on the psyche of people who commit the crimes he just executed.

    The second point, along with the fact he didn't kill himself, make him a true outlier and this event unprecedented.
    He may indeed be "crazy" and felt he was going crazy and took on his course of study to self-analyze himself, either consciously or unconsciously; or was it just a coincidence? Perhaps, if he was conscience, and couldn't find answers, he snapped and gave in for good, deciding to aim for as great a spectacle as possible. But maybe this is giving him too much credit? It probably is.

    He probably wants us to give him some genius credit here. It's important he is alive to study his brain. It's not enough to simply have "he was a nice guy" who "played guitar hero" and "a loner" as the only glimpses we have into the profile of these killers who off themselves. I do wonder if he would have done this at his former school, or was aware that doing that was passé or something and sought a grander venue? Perhaps he felt claiming he was the "the Joker" upon apprehension would give him a shot at the insanity defense. If so, it is clear this monster did not study any law. But, in close, because he is alive unfortunately the fascintation does lie with him and not the victims. Just the way he intended.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ObamaJoe

    CBS News correspondent Celia Hatton reports that, despite their age, the death row images are shedding new light on a country that executes far more people than any other country in the world.

    The photos shocked many across China: Women in their final 12 hours on death row.

    Taken in China's central Wuhan province in 2003, few saw these images until recently, as they spread across China's internet, showing convicted drug traffickers preparing for death.

    It's incredibly rare to see inside China's prisons, not to mention personal photos like the ones from death row. China is thought to sentence more people to death than any other country, but the real number of people actually executed every year is considered a state secret.

    The images show, among other things: Guards giving a prisoner her execution outfit; women being fed fresh fruit, dumplings, and – a special treat – hot pies from McDonalds; prisoners writing final letters; and women crying on the morning of their executions.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ru-DoGG

    How about we not waste taxpayers money and put this lunatic under ground. I have a hard time understanding how it's going to take months to decide if the death penalty should be enforced for this kind of action. He didn't give any of his victims time to deliberate or the choice to live or die....I think the same swift action should be taken with him..

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

    Is it just me, or does this psychopath look like Sideshow Bob?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chrisie

    Let's just hope he doesn't get Jose B as an attorney–him and Casey would make quite a pair! No more money should be spent on him–spend the money on the poor victims–and get his picture off the news–PLEASE–throw him away!

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

    Unbelievable! We're looking at a creature that cannot be described in any normal terms.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Elle

    Come on CNN...you can do better coverage of the shooting aftermath – PLEASE – maintain the integrity you have (for the most part!) Stop showing the Colorado shooter's name & picture so much. You can list as perpetrator or accused or suspect when reporting on araignment/in progress news/court appearances. I realize you want to present the facts, so listing his name or speaking it is probably considered necessary (though debatable) at times. Just asking you do it for only short periods/intermittently if you must do it at all. Set the example & be the change that these types of horrific crimes so need....little to no focus on the perps. You have the opportunity to make a difference. Graceful, compassionate reporting with integrity is what is most needed at this time. I have faith in you!!!

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