AURORA, Colo. - The man accused of killing a dozen people in a Colorado movie theater makes his first appearance in court on Monday, July 23.
Police say James Eagan Holmes, 24, was dressed in body armor
and toting three guns when he opened fire at a packed midnight
screening of the new Batman movie early Friday. Fifty-eight
people were injured in the shooting.
Holmes was apprehended moments after the massacre. Police
say they are still searching for a motive for the crime.
Holmes will appear before Arapahoe County District Judge
William Sylvester at 9:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m. EDT/1530 GMT) for a
hearing that is expected to be brief. He will be represented by
a public defender.
Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers will decide
whether to seek the death penalty for Holmes. She has prosecuted
two of the three inmates on Colorado’s death row. Chambers may
not announce her plan at the hearing.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama traveled to Aurora, a
Denver suburb of 325,000, to offer comfort to families of the
victims. He told them their loved ones would be remembered long
after the justice system was done with the killer.
The dead included war veterans, an aspiring sportscaster who
had barely escaped a shooting in a Toronto mall earlier this
summer, and a 6-year-old girl.
The crime meets all the elements of Colorado capital case
law, including premeditation, multiple victims, and the killing
a child, among others, said former Denver prosecutor Craig
“If James Holmes isn’t executed, Colorado may as well throw
away its death penalty law,” he said.
Many in Aurora have vowed to deny Holmes the publicity they
believe he craves by not uttering his name.
“I refuse to say his name. In my house we’re just going to
call him Suspect A,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told a
memorial on the steps of the municipal center in the Denver
suburb on Sunday night. He captured a spirit of defiance voiced
by citizens as well as religious and political leaders.
Obama met with families in the University of Colorado
Hospital, and in a televised address afterward he also did not
mention the suspect’s name. He focused on the bravery of a young
woman, Stephanie Davies, who saved her friend Allie Young by
putting pressure on a gushing neck wound with one hand and
calling for help on her cellphone with the other.
“They assure us that out of this darkness a brighter day is
going to come,” Obama said.
Holmes and his motives remained largely a mystery, with past
associates saying he displayed no hints of a mental illness or
He was armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P .223 semi-automatic
rifle, similar to an AR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and
a Glock .40-caliber handgun. Police found an additional Glock
.40-caliber handgun in his car. All the weapons had been bought
He is in solitary confinement to protect him from other
prisoners. Holmes had recently dropped out of a doctoral degree
program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz
Medical School, a few blocks from his apartment.