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. ADoseOfReality

    For all of you calling for more gun control, and who actually think that more laws will make a difference – take a look at some reality:

    Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said Holmes was clearly a “very intelligent individual” who knew how to make bombs and would have found other ways to kill.

    “He would have found explosives, he would have found something else, some sort of poisonous gas, he would have done something to create this horror,” said Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

    As Republican Senator John McCain pointed out — coincidentally on the first anniversary of the massacre of 77 people in Norway by a right-wing extremist — horrific shootings can happen anywhere.

    “The killer in Norway was in a country that had very strict gun control laws and yet he was still able to acquire the necessary means to initiate and carry out a mass slaughter,” McCain said.

    PEOPLE are the problem, not the implements of their deeds.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Don't try to rationalize his actions as he obviously has a defective brain. Our jail system is not set up to even try to fix these issues. This crime was not out of survival, personal gain, or emotion. I feel sorry for his family and the families of those directly affected by his actions. The only logical punishment is that he never walks free again.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. guns controls

    Guns don't kill people alone but people WITH guns kill FREQUENTLY in the god 'ol U.S. of A. In Canada, while I don't own a gun, I could get one (Rifle, shotgun, etc) for hunting if I so choose, plenty of Canadians do. But why do they need assualt rifles and the sort? Does anybody actually HUNT with them? Handguns should be for those in security only (not for "possible" self protection. I've always said that if I had a gun since the time I was 16 (I'm 50 now), I likely would have used it once or twice by now and regretted it later on (just because of the particular situation I was in). Get rid of the guns and you'll have way less murders and murderers – GAURANTEED !!!

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

      They got rid of the guns in Norway and that nutjob over there was still able to acquire them and commit that terrible massacre. If you take guns away from law abiding citizens, only law-breakers will have guns.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      The logic here is flawed, because the idea of getting rid of every single gun ever made is a ridiculous notion. Now if this were possible, in theory, you would have no gun violence. But with hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation, the task would be monumental and require resources beyond comprehension. I hate to be the one to tell you, but there is little we can do to stop or prevent all atrocities. Criminals will always find ways to get what they need, heirgo the definition of a criminal, since they seem to have little regard for law. Law abiding citizens will be the ones to suffer for it. I am not an advocate of rampant ownership without accountability. I think regulation and training are important since the majority of people, while they may not be criminals, are not all that bright. This is the reality we face, so get used to it.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trav

      Who do you think will have guns if guns are outlawed? There are plenty of guns in circulation to keep outlaws armed.I have the American right to own guns of any sort,and the god given right to protect myself.I guess the only cliche' I can go with is you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.Gun control is hitting what you shoot at,and where you shoot at it.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DrNoSA

    Note: Holmes excessive drowsiness is a common sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Coco

    The commercial that is played before the video is horrendously inappropriate considering the subject matter. Bad judgement call on CNN's advertizing behalf.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gadzooks

    there is a problem with this type of crime, it'll be years of trials, hearings, medical eveluations, appeals, etc.
    this guy was caught, red handed, he doesn't even deserve a trial – treat him like osama bin laden

    July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dapress702

    criminals have rights until proven guilty..dont blame the media, blame yourself for not being educated..

    July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • diana

      Is stupid enough to blind yourself on this case. He was caugth and was right there shouting at those victims. What more prove do u want. I hope u have the same opinion about our great justice for criminals If you or your love ones become victims of someone like Holmes.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • rep

      diana said : "Is stupid enough to blind yourself on this case. He was caugth and was right there shouting at those victims. What more prove do u want. I hope u have the same opinion about our great justice for criminals If you or your love ones become victims of someone like Holmes."
      if he's so obviously guilty, the process will find him guilty quickly and his punishment will be severe. there's no sense in changing the laws we've had in place for a hundred years because of the emotion involved today. after all, the system was carefully thought out when people were calm and rational so let's let it work. or would you prefer to let mob rule dictate justice in all cases–& not just the ones you feel so certain about?

      July 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • contradiction

      Jajaja educated??????? Are u for real?? This guy was educated and inspite of his education..he did evil. Education is not the answer. Jesus is.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • oscar

      the we have the guy from texas david

      July 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lauravan

      He was caught in the act! What questions need to be answered? None! It's not as if no one saw him committing the crime. He's guilty as charged! Well, once the charges are filed. Then he gets the death sentence.

      July 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • YodaHart

      He lost all of his rights the second he pulled the trigger in that theater.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. G.L. McIntyre

    Now, I am wondering if the same people that have said before that "guns don't kill people, people kill people" still feel the same way, these people can't kill without guns so I don't understand this kind of thinking. I really believe that this country needs to have better gun control and that we also need to better control who buys the guns. I'm not and have never been a gun person so trying to convince me that guns are necessary are wasting their time. This country has lost people so needlessly due to guns, we must do something to stop the madness.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      On a planet of nearly 7 billion, where millions starve to death evey year, thousands of people die from civil wars and our own soldiers are dying in countries that we have no stake in, a dozen people getting killed in Colorado, while tragic and painful, is hardly the turning point in our culture where calls for an end to madness must begin. We have been living in this reality for decades. It sucks but it is the truth.

      July 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cindy

    if this was a muslim guy , they wouldnt have given it a second thought giving him the death penalty. it's a shame how one entire religion gets blamed for a few terrible men that calls themselves muslims, but obviously aren't... but in this case, everyone is focused on a possibly mentally ill person. wow hypocrites, wow.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don't Forget

      Fort Hood

      July 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jawan

    Typical BS. Go shootup 20 people, and you're guaranteed to live at least a few years if you're caught alive.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joan

    What is to decide? He is smart, and he is mean. Put him down like the dog he is. Don't cost taxpayers an arm and a legl for this piece of ....

    July 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James Lancioni

    Quit wasting time and money on these idiots. Take him out back and shoot him. Today...

    July 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mickey1313

    He shouldn't even get a trial, the fbi should take him under the PATRIOT ACT, for domestic terrorism, and he should be brought to an undisclosed location for unrestricted interrogation, until the end of days.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey1313

      Btw unrestricted interrogation is a government euphemism for torture. He should be in total dark solitary confinement, except for the time they are water bording him or giving his gen atals electroshock, or what ever dhs uses at gitmo

      July 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Make a example of him. Make the punishment sever so it puts fear into a crime. Life for a life

      July 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mistro

    First, I have no doubt he was drugged to make this court appearance.

    Second, if guns were more favorably looked upon as a norm, there probably would have been a few people there that had one to protect themselves and a lot less people would have been hurt.

    July 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. edward

    the new law should be any jerk that would buy that much eqipment and ammnition in one day if not of military personel or law enforcement needs their address tracked and redflagged and monitored by the FBI OFFICIALS ASAP. to prevent further mass shootings in america!

    July 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
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