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James Holmes with public defender Tamara Brady at his court hearing Monday morning. (Hill ‘n Holler staff photo from pool video by KUSA TV)

James Holmes

Centennial, Colorado — The eyes of the world were focused here this morning as James Holmes made his first court appearance before 18th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge William Blair Sylvester showing off his mop of dyed red hair and looking disillusioned with his public defender Tamara Brady seated by his side.
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring at least 59 more shortly after the start of the showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.
This was a short advisement hearing where Holmes was advised of his rights and routine motions were filed. A preliminary statement of the charges of capital murder were entered holding him without bond, and the normal 72-hour deadline was waived until next Monday at 9:30 a.m. for the prosecution to enter what likely will be hundreds of charges against him. After the hearing Holmes was returned to solitary confinement.
Judge Blair has been a judge since 2001, chief judge since 2006, and before that had been district attorney since 1996.
District Attorney Carol Chambers, who has convicted two of the three murderers now on Colorado’s death row, said they are considering the death penalty but the decision under state law does not have to be made until 60 days after his arraignment. Chambers said this at a press conference held after the hearing. Since Chambers is not seeking re-election this year, another district attorney will be in place by the time the case goes to trial.
“I would say there’s no such thing as a slam-dunk case,” said Chambers. “We’re still looking at the enormous amount of evidence.” “At this point,” she said, “everyone is interested in a fair trial with a just outcome for everybody involved.”
She refused to comment on Holmes’ demeanor at the hearing or his mental state but despite the Judge’s gag order said most of the actual trial will be televised.
She also would neither confirm nor deny whether Holmes was on medication this morning.
Defense asked for access to the crime scene and that police search warrants be sealed.
Prosecution and defense will have another week to get their ducks in a row for the legal jockeying that will proceed one of the biggest murder trials in recent U. S. history.
Holmes’ lawyers, Brady and also Daniel King, are members of the state public defender’s capital cases team, the group of attorneys who represent clients in death penalty cases.

James Holmes (official mugshot)

Likely the defense will begin trying to determine Holmes’ competency to stand trial. If he is determined competent, many observers say the defense has little choice but to try to declare Holmes criminally insane. At least one profiler has said Holmes shows symptoms of progressive schizophrenia. Despite his supposed brilliance and knowledge of neuroscience, another observer said he would not likely fool any competent forensic psychiatrist.
The confident gunman who allegedly massacred and wounded a theater full of people who were seated in the dark and easy targets was not his persona today. Gone was the Joker and Bane, and James Holmes, the quiet, withdrawn albeit brilliant nobody was there for all to see.
— Caroll Lucas and Howard Elliott
©2012 Hill ’n Holler Review

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