(AURORA, Colo.) — Prosecutors are considering pursuing a death penalty case against James Holmes, the alleged gunman accused of a movie theater rampage in Aurora, Colo., last Friday that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.
A decision on charging Holmes, 24, with capital murder has not yet been made, but Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers told reporters on Monday that she is talking with victims and their family members about it.
There are currently only four people on Colorado’s death row, and only one person has been executed in that state since 1976. Nevertheless, experts expect prosecutors to seek the death penalty when Holmes is formally charged later this week.
Holmes is expected in court Monday for a preliminary hearing.
Members of the Aurora community are anxiously awaiting the hearing, which will mark the first time Holmes will been seen in public since his arrest following the deadly rampage at a midnight screening of the The Dark Knight Rises on July 20.
“He has harmed so many people,” Police Chief Daniel Oates told ABC News. “Not only the victims, but all of their extended families. So I think it will be very hard.”
Oates also said that Holmes’ parents have remained silent.
“They’re not talking to us right now,” he said. “Maybe that will change, but right now they are not talking to us.”
The suspect will be brought to court from his jail cell at Arapahoe County Jail through an underground tunnel.
The court appearance is expected to be brief and will start the clock on the 72-hour deadline for the district attorney to file formal charges at an arraignment where Holmes will enter his plea.
The police chief told ABC News that his team is getting significant help from the FBI’s behavioral analysts in trying to figure out what could have changed Holmes from a promising young student to a suspect in one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Allie Malloy and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN