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. John

    They will play the insanity story, and our tax dollars will go to feeding him for the rest of his pathic life. Just kill the piece of crap

    July 23, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Raiders4life

      i agree with you john sad but true 🙁

      July 23, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiffany

      My thoughts exactly. We've already been shown that he is an intelligent person by watching a speech he did while in college, but now we're being told he's insane? Just hang him and let it all be over with.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rootypoots

    Scary how many of you apparently don't understand even the very basic notions of due process, it's liked reading the words of a bunch of six year olds. Congratulations. The funny thing is you are probably the exact same people who constantly talk about how America is the greatest country ever, etc. Yet, you don't even understand this incredibly simple concept that is the cornerstone of out justice system. Damn talk about educational failure.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • blah9999

      You're right. There might be a chance that he's completely innocent.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Suk Mi Yong

      man r u a moron

      July 23, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • MM

      Wonder if your position would be the same had someone close to you died by the hand of this guy. I'll join the rest of the six year olds you call us and say go straight from the courtroom to the lethal injection or whatever the State of Colorado means are for execution. I firmly agree that he doesn't need to be a drain on the judicial system or the tax dollars it will consume to prosecute him.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Binreal


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

      Most of us "get" due process. Innocent until proven guilty. He does have a right to a fair trial. It's a right every American has, yet he wasn't responsible enough to have a right to bear arms. This man is a sicko and shouldn't have any rights anymore!! Time for harsher gun laws. With rights comes responsibility!!!

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

      Everyone is quite emotional right now. You can tell by the comments calling for death or this sort and that.
      He looks to be on psych meds. Sedatives or something of that nature.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kelly

    WOW, he absolutely looks/acts schizophrenic!!

    July 23, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Johnson

    Sicko. What a shame he didn't use 1 out of those 6000 bullets on himself!

    July 23, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. McShane

    Find out if he ever left the country especially to Pakistan.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Take Responsibility

      Right, lets blame the failure of our society on another country ! Makes alot of sense

      July 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. george


    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • D.

      Why would a monster like this dye his hair, I don't know how many days before he killed all those innocent people, to plead insanity? Cold blooded killers are usually "Proud" of what they have accomplished and are ready to defend what they did with a motive. Something is defintely wrong with this dude.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GonzoJohn

    I wish CNN would get their act together and fix the video and audio on TV. They have a bunch hacks working there.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      It was not CNN's video link... this is the one that the court provided.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. outsource the death penalty

    Outsorce this joker to China now! From arrest to trial to execution in a few days!

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Robert

    I really don't care why he did it. If they want to grant him a counselor or clergy before they execute him, that's fine with me, bu all I really care about is that they execute him soon. They should give 14 days preparation to the prosecution and defense for trial, a week for the trial, another 14 days to prepare for the appeal, another week for the actual appeal, and then hang him immediately afterwards. This should take no more than 6 to 8 weeks from crime to the hanging of the murderer.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Citizen

      You obviously have no idea how preparing a case works. Just by looking at the simple fact that there are so many victims, autopsies and survivors/reports to get from the law enforcement side shows your lack of knowledge in this department.

      Obviously he did it, but wouldn't you want the best case possible brought forward so that he can get the harshest punishment available? This is real life, these victims were real people and left real family members behind. This is not Law and Order SVU or CSI – all of which are TV shows that have done even more to deteriorate the system and make the public think they actually know how it works. Something of this magnitude isn't going to be wrapped up neatly in an hour or 14 days, no matter what fake (and ridiculous) timeline you think everyone else should work on.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alyssa

    He looks like a f ing clown. Not so tough now you P O S.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Amber

      I don't think he was concerned at the time with looking tough. Just concerned murdering people. He killed a child for crying out loud and would have murdered more had he been given the chance. Do you really think he was concerned about a six year old thinking he was tough. I don't think so.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MEME

    he looks like he wants people to feel sorry for him, what an ugly person! He's trying to open his eyes wide and making it seem like he is crazy, he knows exactly what he did. He needs to get the death penalty, and not be in protective custody, he probably wouldn't make it to the end of the week.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Exactly. He looks like he's trying to show emotion of sorrow and regret, but doesn't know what those things really are and is a bad actor. He planned this for weeks or longer. Thinking of and planning ways to kill innocent people. This isn't someone who snapped in a moment and reacted to something and now is CONFUSED by what's going on. This is a person who knew EXACTLY what they did and is now trying to manipulate an audience by making faces. If only we had a slow-death penalty. One that took weeks. Then justice would be served.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. 2 interested

    To the family and friends of the victims, I am so sorry for your loss. And for those recuperating, I pray for a speedy recovery.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. A O

    This is why there should be no recipritoy law for concealed hangun weapons. Think if every eligable person had had a handgun on them this idiot wouldnt have made it very far. I know I would of had mine on me for this exact reason. Makes you wonder. Some people just don't deserve the chances they've been given.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Christi

      Wasn't he wearing tactical gear-could someone have killed him with all of that on?

      July 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • mudbone9

      Just as many people would have died because they all would have shot each other.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Jackson

      I like your point.......

      But the cops responding would probably shot you by mistake.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      AO, I carry as well. But if you seriously think that your having a pistol inside that theatre would have made a bit of difference then you had better take some shooting courses and training before you charge headlong into a situation that's over your head and get yourself killed, my friend.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • dolfan650

      Let's hope your aim is better than your spelling.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • soule

      And how exactly would you or any other American citizen shot him dead when he had:

      A) Full ballistics gear on, protecting his torso, legs, groin, throat.
      B) The advantage of a darkened theater
      C) Tear gas for distraction

      You would have had to shoot him perfectly in the face. I pray that you wouldn't be afflicted by the tear gas and miss, thus perhaps making the situation more dangerous by releasing more bullets into the environment.

      There are some incidents where we can say things like this. More guns in this situation could only mean more deaths of innocents.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jared


      Tactical gear doesn't stop the kinetic energy from transferring from the bullet to the person. It will absorb some of it, but getting hit with a bullet, even while wearing a vest, is going to feel like your world just got rocked by Jeter with a baseball bat. So, depending on how well he can take a hit, an armed citizen might have been able to help. The problem is that there were so many factors going against you in there. The smoke, crowd, low light, and the sheer OMG factor would probably have made it necessary for an armed citizen to vacate the area with everyone else. It just would have been too hard to see him and get a clean shot even if you had your wits about you unless he was in your personal space.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • GM1953

      with all that body armor, someone with a concealed weapon may not have been able to kill him, but they sure would have been able to distract him long enough for more people to escape.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • NUG4pres

      I wouldn't bring a pistol to a fight with an assault rifle, especially if the other person has body armor on...think its time the media focus' most of their attention to victims instead of glorifying cowards! Who cares about this loser with orange hair

      July 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Christi

    Watching the video, he is OUT of it.
    I'm pretty sure Colorado doesn't have firing squad, I believe Utah and one other state are the only ones that still do. He will get the death penalty, there is no way he could get around it.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Doc Knowitall

    How is this freak still alive ?

    July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
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