James Holmes charged with first-degree murder in theater shootings

July 30, 2012|By Louis Sahagun

CENTENNIAL, Colo. –James E. Holmes  was formally charged on Monday with 142 criminal counts, including 24 of first-degree murder, in connection with the shooting rampage at a suburban movie theater showing the latest Batman movie.

Holmes appeared in the courtroom in the Arapahoe County Courthouse looking different than he did during his first appearance in court on July 23. His reddish-orange hair was combed forward and down, rather than the tousled look he had last week when the judge read him his rights.

Holmes’ demeanor appeared calm on Monday, his expression changing from wide-eyed and expectant to periods of staring ahead.

DOCUMENT: Charges against James Holmes

He spoke only once, replying "yes" when District Court Judge William B. Sylvester asked him about a future hearing date.

Afterward, officials set Nov. 13 for the preliminary hearing in the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded. Other hearings are expected sooner on motions, including one from media outlets seeking access to records.

In all, Holmes was charged with 142 counts including two counts of first degree murder for each person who died in the movie theater shooting in Aurora. The movie house was showing the local premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

In addition to the murder counts, Holmes was charged with 116 counts of criminal intent to commit murder and one count of illegal possession of an explosive device.

It was not immediately clear to what the explosive charge referred. During the attack, the gunman used a canister of gas then opened fire with several weapons.

In addition, Holmes’ apartment on Paris Street was booby trapped with explosives, authorities have said.

Holmes was also charged with one count of a crime of violence, a sentence enhancer. The district attorney has yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty in the case.

Unlike the first hearing, Monday’s proceedings were not televised.

After the hearing, Holmes was returned to the county jail where he is being held in sequestered confinement.


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