US shooting suspect in court


Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes has appeared in court accused of murdering 12 people in last week's theatre shooting near Denver.

With a wild scatter of hair dyed bright red-orange, his eyes drooped downward or closed, James E. Holmes made his first court appearance this afternoon just days after he allegedly opened fire on a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, killing 12 people and wounding 58.

Mr Holmes (24) who has not been speaking to authorities since his arrest and is being held in solitary confinement on suspicion of first-degree murder at the Arapahoe County Detention Center, has been appointed a lawyer in the case, James O'Connor, the region's chief public defender.

Today's advisement hearing before Judge William Blair Sylvester lasted about 15 minutes, and Mr Holmes, who appeared dazed, did not speak.

District Attorney Carol Chambers, who has a reputation in Colorado for seeking the death penalty in capital cases, is expected to file formal charges on Monday, July 30.

Outside the courthouse, just south of Denver, a growing throng of news media members and curious onlookers gathered hoping for a glimpse of Mr Holmes, whose motives have been cloaked in mystery. The courtroom was packed and a room was fashioned to accommodate the overflow of reporters who have come from around the world to cover the case.

Details are still unfolding about Mr Holmes, a budding scientist who was doing graduate work at the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus.

Friends and those who knew Mr Holmes, who hailed from Southern California, have described him as quiet and strange, although talented.

Chief Dan Oates of the Aurora police has said that authorities were making progress in the case, but cautioned that the investigation would take time.

Police have said they believe that Mr Holmes began planning his rampage months ago, when he began acquiring the guns and ammunition he used for the shooting and also to rig his apartment with explosives. Mr Holmes was able to purchase thousands of rounds for his weapons over the Internet.


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