CO Shooting Suspect Faces 24 Counts of Murder


Booking photograph from July 20, 2012, of James Eagan Holmes, accused of killing 12 in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo Credit: Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office)

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AURORA, Colorado (CNN) — Colorado movie shooting suspect James Holmes was charged Monday with 24 counts of first-degree murder — two counts for each of the 12 people killed in the shooting.

Twelve murder counts cite “deliberation,” and 12 cite “extreme indifference” to the value of human life.

The 24-year-old former doctoral student was also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder, one count of felony possession of explosive devices and one sentence enhancer.

In addition to the 12 fatalities, he is suspected of wounding 58 moviegoers who had packed a Batman film premiere that began shortly after midnight on July 20.

He is also being held in connection with the subsequent discovery of his booby-trapped apartment, which authorities think he rigged before the massacre in the Century Aurora 16 multiplex.

His next hearing is scheduled for August 9.

Holmes was to be led Monday through an underground tunnel that connects the courthouse to the Arapahoe County Jail, where he has been held in isolation without bail.

In his initial court appearance last Monday, Holmes — his hair dyed various shades of orange — appeared dazed and did not speak.

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said last Monday that deciding whether to pursue the death penalty would take some time, since it would involve input from victims and their relatives.

Authorities have remained silent about a possible motive in the case.

A court document filed Friday revealed that Holmes was a patient of a University of Colorado psychiatrist before the attack.

The disclosure was made in a request filed by Holmes’ public defenders for authorities to hand over a package he sent to Dr. Lynne Fenton at the university’s Anschutz Medical Campus, where he had been studying neuroscience before announcing earlier this month that he was withdrawing from the program.

The package seized by authorities under a July 23 search warrant should remain confidential, protected by the doctor-patient relationship, the request said.

“The materials contained in that package include communications from Mr. Holmes to Dr. Fenton that Mr. Holmes asserts are privileged,” said the document. “Mr. Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Fenton, and his communications with her are protected.”

In response, prosecutors asked for Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester to deny Holmes’ request, saying it contained inaccuracies including claims of media leaks by government officials that in reality may have been fabricated by news organizations.

Sylvester granted a hearing on the request, which is also scheduled for Monday.

Monday’s court appearance comes after a weekend of funerals and memorial services for the victims. On Saturday, family and friends gathered outside Dayton, Ohio, to honor Matt McQuinn, who died while shielding his girlfriend from gunfire.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” said Herb Shaffer, McQuinn’s uncle. “In a moment of crisis, you don’t have time to think about what you’re going to do, all you have time is to react.”

Jessica Ghawi was remembered in San Antonio, Texas, by her brother, Jordan, who encouraged mourners to turn the tragedy into something positive. “If this coward could have done this with this much hate, imagine what we can do with this much love,” he said.

Ghawi, a 24-year-old aspiring sports broadcaster, had narrowly escaped a shooting incident at a Toronto mall less than two months before the killings in Colorado.

“If you’re putting your dreams on hold, you stop that right now,” her brother said. “You don’t know how long you have here.”

A private service was held in Crystal Lake, Illinois, for John Larimer, a 27-year-old Navy petty officer, who received full military honors.

Ten survivors remained hospitalized on Monday, four of them in critical condition.

*For additional coverage on the tragedy in Colorado, click HERE.

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