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. Jetranger

    Well, Jack Cafferty youin here ?? What do you have to say about all this ? Lets hear your thoughts Cafferty, and should he get the ELECTRIC Chair Jack ??? ( say Yes, please ) !

    July 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sunnylovetts

    Our government drugged him, and used him as a patsy. This was a false flag event so they can restrict gun rights more so, big government fears a armed populace. That's the real story the news won't tell you.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikemo

      Sunnylovetts you're insane. Hilariously I bet you own a few guns, which just goes to show you how any loony in this country can own firearms and that needs to change. I say this as an avid gun collector and sport shooter.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • pockets

      Your comments are the comments of someone detached from reality. You see this is how crazy people act. Get to see a Dr. quickly. You need help.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • riamb60

      You sound paranoid, you need to see a shrink asap.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reasonable

      Sonnylovetts,

      Massive conspiracy allegations work better with ANY evidence. even a little.

      Come on, you're better than that.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • OK

      You need to up your meds.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. neednewGov

    How about getting rid of all assault rifles. There is no reason on earth that anyone needs that kind of weapon. Why didn't the gun check system we're supposed to have in place notice the sales and all the ammo being purchased?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hendy

      You do realize that an assault rifle is a SEMI-automatic weapon and that the rounds used are the same size and most often smaller than the rounds used by deer hunters? The only difference is they are high velocity. Also SEMI in SEMI-automatic means the gun only fires as fast as you can pull the trigger. Assault rifles may look all big and scary but they are no more dangerous than a semi-automatic deer rifle (most are semi-automatic). I hunt with my M4 and use it for home protection it works equally well for both.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • welp

      You can't magically make all the guns disappear. He'd just get them from somewhere else.

      Also they did background check him, but he had NOTHING on his record (other than a speeding ticket).

      Also assault rifles are banned since 1986 and he did not have one.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • JS

      The assault weapons ban was allowed to expire in 2004.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      and what is your plan for getting rid of all assult rifles? facts here: there is 1 Ak-47 for every 12 people on this planet, how are you going to get rid of all of them?

      July 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobbb

      Everybody needs an assault rifle.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny Caruso

      Probably the most intelligent comment I saw here.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeeper

      Dumb idea. Next?

      July 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      If there were no assault rifles this guy would have used something else. The two largest mass murders in the United States occurred without using assault weapons, indeed without firing a shot. Those two events were the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building and the 9-11 attacks.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack M.

      Uh...yeah...get rid of the gun...uh...yeah...just let the drug lords and criminals have them...duh!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Oh, the drug lords and criminals have em, now it makes it right.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • baroose

      I wish we had more guns on the street so that one of the hundreds of people in that theatre could have just shot him dead and be done with it. instead we are going to spend millions of dollars investigating, prosecuting, jailing and executing this guy. Just take him out back and shoot him I say

      July 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zane barnes

      I could not agree more.. and the problem is not that we have assault weapons is that the government tells us we can't carry guns freely... if we were allowed to just carry a gun whenever and wherever we wanted everyone would be a lot safer

      July 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • beancounter

      Oh sure Zane, the 10 year old that was just shot by his 7 year old sister with grandpa's gun is so much better off that the gun was left wherever, whenever. And the 7 year old may never recover from the trauma. Guns should not be "carried freely". Home protection is a legal right as it should be, but with it somes risks. Not every moron should have a gun.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @neednewGov,you can kill as much with a Glock pistol like mine than almost all rifles.If you get good ammo they'll never jam and extra large clips so you don't have to reload.So don't blame these so called assault rifles when you really don't know squat.M1 carbines killed hundreds of thousands in many wars and it wasn't an automatic or do you really know,ya don't do ya!!

      July 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Next lets ban shoes. If he didn't have any shoes how would he have left his house?

      July 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey1313

      Need, there is actually a good reason to keep asult rifles legal. The 2nd amendment is there to insure citizens have a means to defend against government n military treachery. Do you think a 9mm is going to stop croupt agents of the government. not even this evil guys ar15 can do that. Over the past 11 years we have asked the government to steal a great many if our rights. It is time to demand an immediate repeal of the patriot act and obamas "defence"bill. This is our country, not theres. They work for us, not the other way around. It is time to realize jfk had backwards. We owe the government nothing, it owes everything it has to the 99%. This is not the 1% country

      July 24, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. babyunk

    First i just want to say im sorry to all the victims families and friends for your loss may god keep u and guide you through this troubling time now as for this dousch insanity should not b considered bcuz how do u go in a theater full of inocent unarmed people and just let loose all those rounds but as soon as you get outside and are confronted by law inforcement that is armed to the teeth and ready to kill u dead u show your true colors and drop your weapons he had no problem lighting up the theater of inocent people but couldnt bust a shell when confronted by the same force that is the mark of a true coward and that tells me he is not insane at all if he had enough common sense to not start shooting at the police u know what they say a coward dies a thousand deaths a man only dies once let him rott in the joint for the rest of his life where he will b forced to die a thousand times or he will eventually man up and take his own life he is a coward though so im betting he will take his thousand deaths

    July 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eh

      You never just wanted to kill a bunch of people? Why would he attack the police? They'd kill him. If he wanted them to die as well, they would've been dead. I feel bad that they didn't get to finish the movie.
      It was awesome.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Poppy

    Guns don't kill people people kill people. I don't even live near where this horrible thing happen but yet as a u.s citizen it hurts. What a mindless act of violence for what?.. Protect yourselfs and your family it's our right. No matter how many laws are in place for guns bad people will get them it's a simple fact.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Penny Nickels

    A Clockwork Orange...!!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Common Sense

    I feel for the families and wish this upon no person. But to be honest, calling for sweeping legislation to control this violence is as pointless as trying to control the weather. No measure will ever stop criminals, just like nature, from having their way. It is up to the people to defend themselves. This is tragic and it does strike a chord with the American people, given our history, but it does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. These families, their friends, and this community will and should be most deeply affected by the tragedy being discussed. But as far as the rest of the country is concerned, and the rest of the world for that matter, these events matter very little, if at all. The sudden nature of this event certainly has a greater impact on our collective psyche, but in a couple of weeks, it will be business as usual. This is neither good nor bad, it is just simply the reality that we live in. So is this a defining moment in our culture? Or do we just accept the fact that sometimes, despite our best efforts, there is little that we can do but suck it up and move on.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Omni

    I got a feeling that southern racist and NRA members will start sending this devil money for his defense and bills.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • riamb60

      De-power the NRA

      July 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. andrew

    sunnlovetts it disgust me they want to control guns vuase guns areent the problem he had god dam bomb he would have blown some place up if gun control stopped him

    July 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Weird...

    On another note, I do see this hair style being copied

    July 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nadia76

    I am guessing the orange hair is to help back up is insanity plea.......smh.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Della B

    People are speaking about the demeanor of James Holmes. They are saying that he looks as if he is suffering from some sort of mental illness, as if he has lost touch with reality. No one is referencing his educational background. His chosen field was neuroscience. And as I understand it, he was a candidate for his PHD in the studies. If this these are indeed the facts, then Mr. Holmes would be extremely familiar with how mental illness presents itself in one diagnosed with the condition. I also feel that if someone was obsessed with that field of study could possibly use himself as a test subject to see if one would commit such a crime, as he is believed to have committed, and get away with it through manipulation and deception. Just a thought.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike Paulsen

    No, don't give him the death penalty. Set him up in a cottage and give him all the creature comforts he desires. How dare we want to put him to death. We can make him better if he just tells us he's sorry. All is forgiven. Justice, American Style. What a joke. Kill dozens of people and the state has to think about the death penalty. Wow, these liberal courts are out of control. Give the poor red head some candy too.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Mike, I totally agree. This is what's wrong with the American justice system. The guy should be tried this week and, assuming he is convicted, executed by firing squad next.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Right on the money Mike Paulsen. We need to let our tax dollars pay for this guy to live the rest of his life in solitary confinement because the send he goes into the gen pop they're going to kill him, so we need to protect him! Seems like a much more practical use of tax dollars than feeding starving American children or giving them some for of health care when they get sick.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      He is a fanatic Christian

      July 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • NLC

      He does not fear death. His punishment must be more severe.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert

    He has that "Deer in the Headlights" look. For being such a smart guy, how could he not know the consequences that would follow???

    July 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nadia76

    I wouldn't normally agree with this statement. But in this case, it would have been fitting.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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