Colo. Shooting Suspect James Holmes Makes First Court Appearance
By: ABC Digital
(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) — James Holmes, the gunman accused of opening fire at a Colorado movie theater, appeared dazed in court Monday, seen in public for the first time since he allegedly killed 12 people and wounded another 58 during the showing of the new Batman movie.
Holmes, 24, appeared in court unshaven with a shock of dyed reddish-orange hair, and a prison jumpsuit that appeared to conceal a bulletproof vest.
He said nothing in the courtroom and spent much of the hearing looking down, his head drooping at times. His demeanor ranged from a glassy bug-eye stare to appearing to be nodding off.
Holmes was not arraigned Monday, but was held without bond on a probable cause order for first degree murder. He is expected to return to court next week, where he will be formally charged and enter a plea.
Holmes is being held in solitary confinement and was brought to the courtroom via an underground tunnel.
Five family members, on behalf of three victims, were in the courtroom Monday. Each was assigned a victim-advocate, armed with a box of tissues.
Asked whether Holmes was on medication or drugs at the time of today’s hearing, Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers told reporters, “We would have no information about that.”
Prosecutors are considering pursuing a death penalty case against Holmes. A decision on charging Holmes with capital murder has not yet been made, but Chambers told reporters Monday she is talking with victims and their family members about it.
Prosecutors have 60 days from the time of arraignment to decide if they will seek the death penalty.
There are currently only three people on Colorado’s death row, and two of them were put there by Chambers and her team. The last execution took place in 1997.
Nevertheless, experts expect prosecutors to seek the death penalty when Holmes is formally charged later this week.
The prosecutor said it will likely be at least a year before Holmes could go on trial.
Monday was the first time Holmes has been seen in public since his arrest following a deadly rampage at a midnight screening of the The Dark Knight Rises on Friday.
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