James Holmes Charged With 24 Counts of Murder, Faces Death Penalty?

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By Benge Nsenduluka , CP Reporter
July 30, 2012|1:00 pm

Prosecutors have formally charged James Eagan Holmes, the Colorado shooting suspect, with 24 counts of murder including first degree murder, it was revealed on Monday.

  • James
    (PHOTO) Twitter: @CBSNews
    James Holmes, Colorado shooting suspect, during his first court appearance on July 23

Holmes, who is suspected of killing a dozen people and injuring several others during a July 19 shooting rampage, was also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder as well as one count of possessing an explosive device and one count of violent crime. The breakdown of the charges was not immediately available, according to ABC News.

The 24-year-old made his second court appearance on Monday morning where he was reportedly led through an underground tunnel that connects the courthouse to the Arapahoe County Jail, the same prison where he has been held in isolation without bail since the deadly shootings took place.

Holmes, who now potentially faces the death penalty, is accused of opening fire at a Colorado movie theater during a midnight screening of the new Batman movie. The shooting killed 12 people and injured 58 others.

While many members of the public were hoping that the high profile case would again be televised, Judge William Sylvester denied a request by Denver-area media for expanded coverage on 30 July.

Judge Sylvester's order came after requests from some of the victims' family members to avoid using Holmes' name and photos, arguing that doing so only gave him a type of celebrity status.

"I don't want the media to be saturated with the shooter's name," said Jordan Ghawi, whose 24-year-old sister Jessica was killed in the shooting.

Defense lawyers also argued that allowing media coverage would jeopardize Holmes' right to a fair trial after crucial documents were allegedly leaked to the press.

"The government's disclosure of this confidential and privileged information has placed Mr. Holmes' constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by an impartial jury in serious jeopardy," Holmes' attorneys wrote in a court motion.

Holmes' first court appearance on July 23 was filmed, despite objections from the suspect's defense team.

He appeared to be out of touch and unresponsive during his first court appearance, often closing his eyes with his head bopping back and forth.

As investigators continue trying to establish Holmes' motives for the recent killing, new reports suggest that he was seeing a psychiatrist prior to the incident, which- if proven accurate- could help him avoid a capital punishment sentence.

Holmes, a former University of Colorado student, was reportedly a patient of Dr. Lynne Fenton, who worked as a psychiatrist at the same college.

Colorado reinstated the death penalty in 1975 and since 1977 the state has only executed one prisoner.

 

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