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. Jay

    My prayers go out to the families of the fallen victims that were killed at the movie theater. It is truly sad that these innocent people who planned to have an enjoyable time that day ended in such a senseless killing.

    My prayer also goes out to the parents of the man accused of the killings, they will have to live with the fact that their son committed this act and knowing this they will be stared at and talked about ALWAYS.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Down with the joker

    Why waste all this court time, our hard earned tax dollars on this fool. Stone and hang him. Heck blow him up with his own homemade devices.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jesse

    This is DISGUSTING. freedom of information should be illegal when news outlets over do it and REPORT EVERY LITTLE THING as CNN does it.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nancybrad

    The bleeding hearts will defend this guy

    July 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • christine

      What are you talking about?

      July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. PJ

    Classic sign of a sociopath, he sits there like he's in a daze drawing more attention to himself. I feel for his mother who first held him in in her arms afterhis birth and now confronted with what he has done and what he has become. Not a good feeling for a mother even IF she discoverd at some point her son has dis-associated personality traits. Time and time againg we hear from parents after the fact. Come on PARENTS......step in ........take a stand and get your kid some help when you notice this. There are signs!!! A hard task but help is there for all of us.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Omni

    paranoid schizophrenia is what my father suffered from. He would do something, walk out of the room and accuse someone else of doing it. He was evil also and killed 5 people in what was claimed to be self defense. My father knew he was crazy and embraced it, so did this piece of trash.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriot not your country

      all of you in America are dangerous to normal society and freaks

      July 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dawgathon

    Guy looks pretty normal (other than the dyed hair). Just goes to show the potential for mental illness. It can hide inside anyone. The guy looks the way he does because (and I guarantee you this) he has had little sleep since his arrest. Suffice it to say that may be part of his delusional existence. He probably has little ability (for now) to comprehend the acts he just committed. We'll see what the psychologists and psychiatrists have to say about his mental state of mind. It cannot be normal.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tengu

    Holy Crap what did I miss?!? I checked CNN and Ronald McDonald is in a courtroom... What did he do?!?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hannamomma

    Seriously?!?!?!?! This man took plenty of time, thought, effort and money into creating this terroristic act and you have to THINK about it?!?!?!?! So are you telling us that the victims and survivors lives are less important than his? Remeber EVERYONE is watching you and finding out what kind of person you are and what you truly stand for. If you have a valid argument for not going for the death penalty then you need to start getting it out to the public. This will define your career and who/what you are. Tread carefully!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. andrew

    im not pro gun or anti gun im not gonna say tho that gun control could have helped it it really couldnt look at england they have no guns and its not like the have no crime crime dosent follow guns not every gun owner is a murderer and u should be able to have gun for protection if thugs and crimanals can get them illegaly on black markets so wisen up and stop blaming gun control

    and finally and eye for eye isnt right and this guys should receive mental help befor emajor triaal

    July 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Omni

    Insanity implys that a demon told you to stab your lil sister with a pencil. Evil is when you hide the fact that your about to murder a bunch of people and you wear body armour like a coward while you're doing it.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DrNo SA

    Psychopaths have lost their uncinate fasculi, the white-matter connections between the orbitofrontal regions and the anterior temporal lobes (the amygdala). This was recently demonstrated by both Kings College in London and the University of Wisconsin in studies using MRI-DTI brain scans on psychopathic subjects. The unanswered question is how did these subjects acquire these brain defects? Is there a genetic predisposition? Is it the result of trauma or some infectious cause? One possibility is that repeated bouts of hypoxemia over a prolonged period, during sleep, may be responsible. Studies have demonstrated a predilection for frontal lobe brain damage by MRI-DTI brain scans in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. I suspect that James Holmes has the disease and as a result has lost parts of his frontal lobes, including his uncinate fasculi. A sleep study and an MRI-DTI brain scan should be done on Holmes.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      can this exam be done post mortum? Lets not slow down the legal process with catscans.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Spare us your "sleep studies and brain scans". And spare us the years and expense of trials, re-trials, appeals, more appeals, and all the rest of the crap. Try the guy and execute him. Quickly. End of story.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • marat

      Your post is a perfect example of "Reductionism," i.e. the attempt to explain complex and seemingly irrational behavior to some hypothetical physio-biological substrate. It is, in fact, a DEAD END as an explanation and is NOT a genuine explanation but a mere hypothesis. There simply is NO one to one correspondence between behavior and brain activity. The very word "psychopath" or "psychopathy" is a CLINICAL LABEL used by psychiatry. Forget the pseudo-explanations that attempt to find specific brain patterns or correlations. Tons of individuals whose brains are within the norm of the general population can and have committed some of the most ATROCIOUS crimes/murders. In point of fact, there have been any number of thousands or tens of thousands of mass murderers who enjoyed their killing spree who did NOT exhibit ANY SPECIFIC brain profile. I would challenge you and the huge army of SHRINKS to prove that there is a ONE -TO- ONE correlation between brain chemistry and acts of premeditated, planned mass murder attempts. IF this actually panned out to be true, these acts would not occur and society would be secure in knowing they could automatically IDENTIFY those who will commit these acts. But that will never occur. In point of fact, the very attempt to EXPLAIN this individual's behaviour or what "motivated him" to do what he did will probably NEVER, EVER be truly known. Its easy for psychologists to theorize and try to make a case that they REALLY have unequivocally explained the motivation, but this is ENTIRELY FALSE and mere speculation, couched in psychological jargon. If it were otherwise, society would be far, far ahead in identifying such individuals long before they unleashed untold misery on society. My own take is more pragmatic. I simply suggest that this individual really, really enjoyed what he did and felt a huge sense of accomplishment and gratification by being in a position of power and total control where he could kill whoever he wished. Again....he ENJOYED it. Call it a certain "high" if you like.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Dr NoSA. A few decades ago the leaders of your "science" were lobotomizing people and far worse. Look it up, people. You've tried to surgically cut out the problem, electrocute it, and now medicate it. As long as you understand you're "practicing" well then fine. The trouble is your tone echoes the same tone taken throughout psychology's history - one of superior expert. One of truth-holder. A person who speaks in absolutes. Well we KNOW this... And we KNOW this... I don't fault you for "practicing". For "trying". Hopefully, one day it actually turns into something useful. What I can never understand is how such a track record of utter failure and outright embarrassing methodology still fuels so much confidence. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bart

    He looks like Ron Weasley – Bloody hell!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dawn

    Really, they really have to think about the death penalty??? He killed 12 people and injured 59 other for just sitting there watching a movie and they have to think about giving him the death penalty!!! What about that little girl that he killed??? She didn't even have a chance to live life yet!!! Why even waste the courts time on him!

    July 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Robert

    Can you imagine what the deterrent factor would be in American justice if people were convicted and executed on live TV within 48 hours of their crime?

    July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      That kind of speech is what leads to a fascist state. It has been proven that the death penalty does nothing to deter criminals. Those in a state of mind that leads them to commit crimes worthy of receiving the death penalty are not so concerned with the consequences.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoFo

      I agree....kill him right away & put it on tv for all to see!!

      July 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trav

      I'm with you a hundred percent.So sick of the bleeding hearts for the crazy people out there,across the board thieves, rapist, and of course the subject at hand if you can't live here under the same expectations as everyone else then you just shouldn't.I think that all the people who "need to find out what's wrong with these people" should have to pay for it,not the population as a whole.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      @Robert.
      It's true. But take it a step further. Imagine if criminals like this were painfully tortured on television. Sure, it's questionable, inhumane, uncivilized maybe, and possibly worse. But as a straight deterrent it might really work.
      Here's this cowardly loser plotting the senseless death of many, including children, thinking - but do I really want to get my hands cut off like that other guy? Do I really want them to give me the flesh eating virus in small doses? Or whatever. This guy and others like him, as "crazy" as they may be, might suddenly become a little less "crazy" when it comes to visualizing their own slow demise. It would kind of have to change their vision of their master plan, wouldn't it? This is a guy who premeditated all of this for weeks or longer. He has the ability to visualize, create, and execute a plan. Wonder if he would do it if his slow pain was the final act? Kinda doubt it.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
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