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Aurora shooting: Payments are set for victims, their families

November 17, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • James E. Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre, appears in court July 23. He no longer has the orange hair.
James E. Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre, appears… ( RJ Sangosti / Denver Post…)

Victims of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting will soon receive checks from a $5.3-million relief fund set up after the rampage, with 70% of the money going directly to the families of those who died or suffered permanent injuries in the attack.

"These payments won’t replace loved ones who died or completely heal all wounds,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. “But through the generosity of others we hope victims and their families can use this money to continue their recovery.”

The state tapped relief fund expert Kenneth R. Feinberg — who determined the payments for victims from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — to oversee the allocation.

Twelve people were killed when a gunman walked into the theater during a late-night, opening weekend showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in the Denver suburb and began shooting. Another 58 people were wounded in the July 20 attack. The suspect charged in the massacre, James E. Holmes, was arrested at the scene.

The public has donated $5,338,360.32 to the Aurora Victim Relief Fund in the months since the shooting, which the Community First Foundation closed on Thursday. On Friday, the state announced the payment schedule as determined by Feinberg.

Families of the 12 who died and five who suffered permanent brain damage or paralysis will receive $220,000.

The remaining money, about 30% of the fund, will go to victims based on how long they were hospitalized.

Victims hospitalized for 20 or more days receive $160,000; eight to 19 days, $91,680; and one to seven days, $35,000.

In all, 38 claims for relief funds were approved. The Community First Foundation and 7/20 Recovery Committee, which oversaw the fund, rejected 19 claims because they did not qualify.

Feinberg is expected to issue a final report on the fund in December. Along with his findings, he will attach the results of an independent audit that had been demanded by families after the Community First Foundation gave each victim or their families $5,000 from the millions in donations.
Feinberg was not paid for his work with the fund.

Meanwhile, there was no further word Saturday on the condition of Holmes or whether he remained hospitalized. Requests for comment from authorities were not immediately returned.

Holmes had been scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, but that was abruptly canceled the day before when his attorneys alerted the court that he had been hospitalized for illness or injury, though no details were provided.

Holmes, a former neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Colorado-Denver, faces 166 counts, including two charges of murder for each person killed.

Holmes’ next appearance is scheduled for Dec. 10.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna

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