James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder on Monday during his second court appearance, which was attended by a large number of the victim's families.
A number of strangers stood unusually linked to each other Monday by one single incident that will forever make an impact on their lives. In bandages, some wearing Batman t-shirts, other wearing bracelets with the name of a victim at their wrist- victims and the family members of victims had one very big thing in common.
"They watched Mr. Holmes intently, hoping to decipher some meaning from the posture and gaze of the shackled 24-year-old man sitting next to his public defenders, his neon orange-pink hair combed flat to his head," New York Times writers Jack Healy and Dan Frosch said, describing the scene.
Cameras were banned from the courtroom, meaning that the thousands of Americans who have shown interest in the case will never see the reaction on Holmes face as charges were read. Nor will they see how family members responded to the despondent, seemingly dazed suspect.
"To show our resilience," Dab Lader, a man who was in the theater but escaped injury, said about his shirt. "We're now part of a community."
Even in spite of their own tragedy, some victims and their families have already learned to forgive.
"I felt anger and I felt resentment that anybody could take away someone's life for just going to the movies," Maryellen Hansen, the great aunt of 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan said."I also felt sorry for him. Here was a brilliant person that could've done a lot of good. What went wrong?"
Holmes now faces a total of 142 criminal charges: 24 counts of murder, 116 counts of attempted murder, and additional charges for possession of explosives
"For each victim, Mr. Holmes was charged once for showing deliberation and intent to kill, and once for showing extreme indifference to human life," the NYT reported.
For others, it will not be as easy.
"I don't care what the motive is. He knew what he was doing. That's it. I want to see justice," Ana Moser, the stepmother to Ashley Moser and grandmother to Veronica, said.
Prosecutors have 60 days from the day of arraignment to decide if they will seek the death penalty.