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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Colorado shooting suspect charged with first-degree murder


The former graduate student accused of gap hearth at a midnight screening of the new "Batman" film in Colorado, killing twelve folks, was charged on Monday with twenty four counts of first-degree murder, creating him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

James Holmes, who was arrested behind a suburban Denver multiplex minutes once the July twenty shooting at a packed showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," conjointly faces 116 counts of tried murder in one in all the worst outbursts of U.S. gun violence in recent years. Fifty-eight folks were wounded within the attack, a number of whom stay in vital condition.

Prosecutors have said a call might be months away on whether or not to hunt the death penalty against Holmes, 24, who created his second court look on Monday. Colorado has 3 men on its death row and however has not executed a condemned inmate since 1997.

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers' workplace charged Holmes with 2 counts for every victim - one for closing the crime "after deliberation" and also the second for "malice manifesting extreme indifference to human life."

Holmes, who authorities say styled himself once Batman's comic-book nemesis "The Joker," appeared in court clad in jail garb, his hair still dyed bright orange however with the colour fading to pink in places.

He sat impassively at a table with 2 defense lawyers through the 45-minute hearing however appeared a lot of alert than throughout his initial court look every week ago, when he looked dazed and groggy.

The former neuroscience student spoke one time, quietly answering, "Yes," in response to an issue from Arapahoe County District choose William Sylvester. He principally kept his gaze lowered and failed to explore a courtroom gallery jam-choked with members of the media and victims' members of the family.

The choose set a pre-trial hearing for September twenty seven, tentatively scheduling a preliminary hearing for the week of November thirteen.

Police say Holmes entered Theater nine at the Century sixteen multiplex within the Denver suburb of Aurora carrying tactical body armor and a gas mask and tossed smoke bombs before spraying moviegoers with bullets from 3 guns.

Authorities who rushed to his apartment following the movie house massacre said they found it wired with enough explosives to bring down the three-story building, and spent many days dismantling the booby traps. Holmes was conjointly charged on Monday with possessing an explosive device.

'EVIL PRESENCE'

Pregnant survivor Ashley Moser suffered a miscarriage following the shooting, however the loss of her fetus failed to alter the amount of murder charges as a result of the unborn can't be counted as homicide victims underneath Colorado law.

Moser, 25, was left paralyzed from the waist down from her own bullet wounds. Her daughter, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, was the youngest of these who died within the shooting.

Moser's aunt, MaryEllen Hansen, said once Monday's hearing that she found Holmes a "diabolical, evil presence."

"But he looked terribly sane to me. He extremely did. His reaction looked totally different," she said. "When we have seen him before, he sounded like he was quite spaced out or out of bit. however he appeared terribly, terribly alert these days and extremely lucid on what was occurring."

Prosecutors, who are underneath a protecting or "gag" order imposed within the case by the choose, declined to clarify their call to file the double charges, however legal specialists say it may to be a technique to supply jurors over one path to a guilty verdict.

During the hearing, defense attorney Tamara Brady asked that prosecutors flip over proof collected within the case. The defense is seeking a package that news reports have said was sent by Holmes to a University of Colorado psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton.

Prosecutors responded that they'd not nonetheless opened that parcel, that in line with Fox News contained a notebook outlining his plans for the shooting, as well as stick-figure drawings.

Holmes, a San Diego native, was a doctoral student of neuroscience at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus before returning paperwork to drop out in June.

Court documents filed on Friday by defense lawyers said he had been a patient of Fenton, who is medical director for student mental health services on campus. She is additionally listed as a member of the school's behavioral threat-assessment team.

Neighbors and students within the North Aurora neighborhood where Holmes lived said his withdrawal from the university would possible have triggered his eviction from his apartment as a result of the building is reserved for folks affiliated with the college.

Police haven't offered a motive for the shooting rampage that shocked Aurora and evoked reminiscences of the 1999 massacre at Columbine highschool but twenty miles away in Littleton.

Authorities have said that following his arrest, Holmes referred to as himself "The Joker" and specialists say his mental state may play a vital role within the case.

Police said Holmes was armed on the night of the shooting with a Smith & Wesson M&P .223 semi-automatic rifle, like an AR-15 assault rifle; a 12-gauge shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber handgun, in line with police.

An additional Glock .40-caliber handgun was found in his automotive. All the weapons had been bought legally within the previous sixty days.
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