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. Jo

    He's not dazed, it's an act, we all know it. He wants the death penalty and we shouldn't give it to him. That's the easy way out. Let him suffer, the families will forever suffer with no closure. He can live out his life in solitary "alone" with his thoughts until he takes his own life.

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

      Agree 1000%! He's gonna run with the insanity plea, hence the face drama. Sick b*st*rd!

      July 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • minkakross

      I agree it's an act but I'd say he's trying to avoid the death penalty with insanity. he wore too much body armor and gave up too easy to want to die he's demonstrated too much planning and no remorse, this is not the kind of guy who offs himself because of a conscience.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tommy

    The Federal Government should take stringent measures with regard to Gun Control. It is far to simple to purchase a firearm and neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney have addressed this issue. The NRA is far too powerful and it is high time that something be done about this matter. Another suggestion would be to connect alarms to the exits at the front of the movie theaters. This will curtail the public from using these exits, except in case of an emergency. The alarm would immediately go off, which could have avoided the tragedy in Aurora, CO. It sounds like a "no brainer", but definitely is worth some consideration in order to avoid future incidents as what was evidenced with unnecessary loss of lives.

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

      Agreed. It's time to toughen gun laws. How many more shooting need to happen for a change? Until you're personally affected by one nobody thinks about it. Why would a civilian need an assult rifle anyway? With righs come responsibility and some people obviously can't handle this!

      July 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Collin

    If he hadn't purchased the guns, he would have made a bomb and blowing it up in the theater. You can't outlaw all of the substances that can be used to make bombs.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Abbeystone30

    Tabloid sensationalism

    July 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. PJ33

    I think the best use of this kind of crap is medical experimentation to say the least.
    Inject him with HIV or cancer cells and then test to see if we can't find a cure.
    This needs to start happening...

    July 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. john grey

    Even if its premeditated – neuroscientists are proving that free will doesnt really exist – you can't control what thoughts appear out of your brain or even what you will do. If you dont believe it pay attention to what you think try to explain why you havent hat thought pop in your head – you cant. Try to control what you to today – you cant. You're gonna do certain things whether you like it or not. This doesnt make what he did ok but just dont think youd be different if you had his brain.

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

      We may not control our conscience, but we most certainly can control our actions. It's called self control.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayneQP

      @ mahdeealoo, that's like saying to a paraplegic, "You can pick up that ball, just use your arm, it's called motor control." He doesn't have a fully functioning brain, psychopaths don't. No doubt, he should be imprisoned for life (sorry, I can't in good conscience OK murder for any reason), but to dismiss and diminish what causes people like him to snap leads to a profound ignorance that will leave us WIDE open to it happening again and again. The more we know, the better prepared we are.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RogueAries

    Ha he was falling asleep while they were reading his rights.

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

      He is more than likely totally sedated. He is about as unstable as they come, they are not about to let him freak out all over the place...come on now, think.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Abdelrahman

    if he were muslim we`d hear so many people talking in mass media about the terrorist who killed 12 in a movie coz it is against his religion and bla bla bla..however i hope you`ll give him the penalty he deserves for killing those innocent people

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

    Yes, he is very intelligent and he would know how to "appear" insane based on his neuroscience background, however, intelligence and knowing how to pretend to be insane is not what drove him to commit such a horrific act of violence. My bet is that he is suffering from a neurological issue having to do with the "lights out" effect on the amygdala. This is not insanity, it is literally, a defective brain and has been identified in the brains of psychopaths (not necessarily the brains of Muslims or street punks looking to get a few bucks off of some old woman... you'd be a fool to think so). This is something he WOULD have known and he should have sought help. Therein lies the catch 22 of this defect.

    I am so sorry for the victims, families of the victims and the family of James Holmes. Tragic in every way.

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

      Agreed with all what u said except the word "Muslim" ..... That is not right. Hate is not good to no one.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Amber

    All I can feel is sadness for his victims and him surprisingly enough. You have to have something fundamentally wrong with your soul to have committed an act of sheer terror as the one he committed. He may have moments of lucidity where he is absolutely horrified at what he's done. He couldn't have been in his right mind. Something took over. I pray for all involved and hope peace finds all and forgiveness for him. I don't agree with Lean6 when he or she states that the pictures were favorable used in the media. All I see in those pictures are a young man that has lost touch with reality and his humanity.

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

      I agree. It is a rare thing that these psychopaths are apprehended before they commit suicide. At least it gives us a chance to learn how to recognize the symptoms or precursors to an episode so terrifying and sad by studying him...that is, if he ever speaks about it.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Les

    Hes dosen,t look so happy he finally realized what he had done and he wasn,t playing a vedio game . Exacute him on live TV so all can see the consequence for merder and how he handels his responcibiltys

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

      Learn how to spell before you post.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keets

      Sounds like you have a lot in common with him.

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

    Shave that hair off. No one is joking now.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James PDX

    I just hope this guy gets the death penalty. I've had enough of the mentally unfit defense. Some bleeding hearts seem to think that anyone who does anything evil is suffering from a mental illness. You may be correct, if you consider evil to be a mental illness that can neither be controlled nor cured. Sometimes people are just bad. Personally, I could care less if this guy planned all of these killing because of a mental illness. Allowing him to live serves no purpose and will only cost taxpayers money and come with the sad possibility that he may some day make parole. Fry him.

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

      I agree. If he had it well enough together to plan all this, the insanity defense is inappropriate. The insanity defense is for people who are so out of it they don't know what they're doing.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • petey

      The term is "couldn't care less". If you "could" care less, it means that you must care, which is the opposite of the point you are trying to make.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      you're aware it costs more tax dollars to put him to death than leave him in jail, yes?

      July 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • petey

      The term is "couldn't care less". If you "could" care less, it means that you must care, which is the opposite of the point you are trying to make.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Aaron

    I'm not sure why everyone thinks he's acting and trying to seem insane. It looks to me like he's having trouble staying awake and he's nodding off but trying to keep his eyes open. The bags under his eyes are horrible and he looks like he hasn't slept in days. No insanity there – just exhaustion and drowsiness.

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

      He thinks he is the Joker! It's an act, and next he will attempt suicide.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Siara

      He organized all this for months. He installed such a sophisticated booby trap in his apartment that it was hard to disarm. He can pay attention when he wants to.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Riddler

    Riddle me this: How can such an obviously deranged human being, be set free after committing such atrocities? Here's a clue. It's a word that begins with "M" and ends in "Y".

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

      Monica LewinskY

      July 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
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