James Holmes Charged with 142 Counts, Including First-Degree Murder, in Colorado Theater Shooting

The man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at a Colorado screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" is facing two dozen charges of first-degree murder after one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

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RJ Sangosti / Pool via Getty Images

James Holmes makes his first court appearance, at the Arapahoe County courthouse in Centennial, Colo., on July 23, 2012

Ten days after allegedly shooting 12 people to death and wounding 58 others in a crowded Colorado movie theater, James Holmes, 24, was formally charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder Monday, July 30, as well as one charge of using a crime enhancer and one of possessing an explosive device. Prosecutors must now begin to build a case that could result in his execution; defense lawyers may possibly try to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

(MORE: Alleged Colorado Movie-Theater Shooter Makes First Court Appearance)

Holmes’ public defense lawyers filed a document on Friday, July 27, showing that he had been seeing a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado just prior to the July 20 shooting. They insisted that conversation between him and the doctor is legally protected information and requested that a package that includes communication sent to the psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, be handed over to the defense. Prosecutors wanted Arapahoe County Judge William Sylvester to reject the request, saying that the media reports about what was in the package, including possible diagrams of shooting plans, may have been fabricated. According to Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers, the package “hadn’t been opened” at the time the news reports appeared. Attorneys were expected to argue the criteria during a hearing that was to take place in conjunction with Holmes’ court appearance, but that hearing was postponed.

During the Monday hearing, Holmes spoke only when he was asked if he wanted to waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days, responding, “Yes.” Sylvester set the preliminary hearing date for Nov. 12. The next court hearing in the case is set for Aug. 9, which will address requests by the media to open the case file. The media were not allowed in the courtroom on Monday and instead waited in a holding area.

Meanwhile, a woman whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in the shooting suffered a miscarriage on Saturday. Ashley Moser’s family said in a statement that the trauma of the shooting and the subsequent surgery caused her to lose her baby. However, prosecutors did not charge Holmes with the death of the unborn baby because homicide charges in Colorado apply only to those “who had been born and alive,” defense attorney and former prosecutor Karen Steinhauser told the Associated Press.

PHOTOS: Batman Movie Theater Shooting in Aurora, Colo.

19 comments
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Abdi Ali
Abdi Ali

One doesn't need to be genius to know 3000+ ammunition is for self defence.   The ammunition supplier must have known this was never for self defense reason so why didn't he sell him a rocket launcher instead which would have saved him more ammunition?

ERenger
ERenger

One question not addressed in the article: Why are there 2 counts for each victim? 24 counts of first degree murder for the 12 who died, and 116 counts of attempted murder for the 58 who were shot. 

thomasc93
thomasc93

Putting multiple counts of a crime on somebody (if legally allowed, such as in this case) allows for flexibility in sentencing. Officially, each count are two separate counts of individual crimes: crimes with deliberation and crimes with extreme indifference. They're basically the same thing, but this allows, if he's found guilty, the judge to go as light or as hard on him as possible. It's just a stupid formality thing.

But personally I don't really think it'll make a difference in this case. I just don't think he's competent to stand trial. What seems in my view to have happened was a bad case of type 1 bipolar illness mixed with a psychotic episode, perhaps with a couple more things thrown in there. While it's not an excuse, it does provide reason and motive.

GeorgiaHenning13
GeorgiaHenning13

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Joseph Gabrielli
Joseph Gabrielli

Those poor people, also why are their so many shooting in Colorado

ThomasNeidhart
ThomasNeidhart

 "their"  there, you mean.  and I doubt there's anymore shootings in CO than any other state, just two major shootings.  but, perhaps someone with stats would elaborate for us.

guns don't kill people.  gun toters do.

Maritza McLaughli
Maritza McLaughli

 I bet if he were Arab, there would be no question of his sanity, he'd be labeled a terrorist and that'd be the end of it, but he's white, so it MUST be a mental disorder...right? http://MomentDifference.blogsp...

Stewart Platt
Stewart Platt

What an ignorant thing to say. Have you ever heard anyone say the two terms are mutually exclusive? I think you MUST have a mental disorder if you strap a bomb to yourself and detonate at a market or school. On the flip side, when you kill 12 people in cold bold, you're a terrorist. Don't try and turn this into a racial equality issue. It just isn't there. Although my heart does bleed for those poor Arab murderers who are "labeled a terrorist" and that's "the end of it." The humanity.

John Forsthoffer
John Forsthoffer

Definitely premeditated. I don't think it's something an insane person  is capable of. 

rtqp
rtqp

 i think you're confusing "insane" with "retarded."

butterfly
butterfly

Even without a clinical diagnosis, it is clear Mr. Holmes is suffering from some mental disorder.

PrinceHall
PrinceHall

I think not.  The fact that he sat down and planned every step accordingly, for months, doesn't show "insanity".  He was very aware of what he was doing.  It'd be different if he just snapped and all of sudden decided to go on a shooting spree.  This was calculated.  He's obviously quite competent.  I bet if he were Arab, there would be no question of his sanity, he'd be labeled a terrorist and that'd be the end of it, but he's white, so it MUST be a mental disorder...right?

thomasc93
thomasc93

Being a clinician at a mental hospital in MA, just looking at this guy I can tell he has an illness. Mental illness does not always (and usually does not) affect cognition/being able to learn and think. A common misconception. Like I said in an above post, the closest guess I could make without sitting down with him and doing some testing would be type 1 bipolar illness with a mixed psychotic episode. And as far as the terrorist/Arab thing goes, I think you're partially right. However, the difference between James Holmes and terrorists is that the terrorists have had the stuff they believe engrained into them since the cradle, so they just believe a bunch of bullsh*t because that's what they've been told since they we're old enough to even semicomprehend anything. Holmes did what he did because that's what the voices in his head told him to do.

PrinceHall
PrinceHall

And yet this doesn't change the fact that he planned every detail out. Even his home was booby trapped. Even if he has some mental illness, I don't think you can contribute this entire incident to that. He planned everything out accordingly. And yes terrorist are taught their beliefs from an early age so that becomes their mindset. I was only commenting in the fact that due to his skin color, mental illness was an immediate concern, had he been a minority it wouldn't have necessarily came up from the beginning, especially if he were Arab. The first avenue that would have been explored were ties to extremist Islamic groups. That's a fact. But he's WHITE so of course everyone's first thought is mental disease.

butterfly
butterfly

I do not disagree.

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ThomasNeidhart
ThomasNeidhart

I agree with you.  I think his facial expressions are a ruse.  he took out his anger on the world, instead of himself.  he was trying to get help, that's true, but it doesn't mean that he didn't decide he was gonna make 'people' pay.  well, I guess that's the actions of a crazy person......

Evergreen10121
Evergreen10121

I think his facial expressions are of defeat because his plan backfired.  He wanted to kill so many more, and had his apt. booby trap have worked as planned and been the massive diversion he had hoped, would have given him sufficient time to kill many more.  However, his plan was foiled because police were at the scene about 90 seconds later, instead of the massacre at the apt, as he had hoped, to allow much more time.