Archive for Monday, July 23, 2012

Colorado massacre suspect James Holmes appears in court with orange hair

July 23, 2012, 9:36 a.m. Updated July 23, 2012, 11:35 a.m.


— His hair dyed orange-red and a dazed look on his face, the man accused of going on a deadly shooting rampage at the opening of the new Batman movie appeared Monday in court for the first time.

James E. Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court, Monday, July 23, 2012, in Centennial, Colo. Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and could also face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations stemming from a mass shooting last Friday in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 and injured dozens of others.

James E. Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court, Monday, July 23, 2012, in Centennial, Colo. Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and could also face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations stemming from a mass shooting last Friday in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 and injured dozens of others.

An unshaven, handcuffed James Holmes, 24, sat in maroon jailhouse jumpsuit as the judge advised him of the case. Holmes sat motionless, his eyes appearing tired and drooping.

At one point, he closed his eyes as the judge spoke. Prosecutors said later they didn't know if Holmes was on medication. Authorities have said he is being held in isolation at the jail.

Holmes didn't speak once during the hearing. His attorneys answered for him when the judge asked if he understood his rights. One woman's eyes welled up with tears during the hearing.

Police say Holmes, clad in body armor and armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and handguns opened fire at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.

He was arrested shortly after the Friday shooting. He is refusing to cooperate, authorities say. They said it could take months to learn what prompted the attack on the moviegoers.

Holmes was brought over from the Arapahoe County detention facility and walked into the courtroom with attorneys and others.

He sat down in a jury box, seated next to one of his attorneys. His entrance was barely noticeable but relatives of shooting victims leaned forward in their seats to catch their first glimpse of him.

Some stared at him the entire hearing, including Tom Teves, the father of Alex Teves, who was killed in the shooting. Two women held hands tightly, one shaking her head.

After the hearing, prosecutor Carol Chambers said that "at this point, everyone is interested in a fair trial with a just outcome for everybody involved."

Chambers earlier Monday said her office is considering pursuing the death penalty against Holmes. She said a decision will be made in consultation with victims' families.

David Sanchez, who waited outside the courthouse during Holmes' hearing, said his pregnant daughter escaped uninjured but her husband was shot in the head and was in critical condition.

"When it's your own daughter and she escaped death by mere seconds, I want to say it makes you angry," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said his daughter, 21-year-old Katie Medely, and her husband, Caleb, 23, had been waiting for a year to watch the movie.

Asked what punishment Holmes should get if convicted, Sanchez said, "I think death is."

Holmes is expected to be formally charged next Monday. Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and he could also face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations.

Holmes has been assigned a public defender.

Security at the hearing was tight. Uniformed sheriff's deputies were stationed outside, and deputies were positioned on the roofs of both court buildings at the Arapahoe County Justice Center.

Police have said Holmes began buying guns at Denver-area stores nearly two months before Friday's shooting and that he received at least 50 packages in four months at his home and at school.

Holmes' apartment was filled with trip wires, explosive devices and unknown liquids, requiring police, FBI officials and bomb squad technicians to evacuate surrounding buildings while spending most of Saturday disabling the booby traps.

Investigators found a Batman mask inside Holmes' apartment after they finished clearing the home, a law enforcement official close to the investigation said Sunday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

Officials at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus were looking into whether Holmes used his position in a graduate program to collect hazardous materials, but that disclosure was one of the few it has made three days after the massacre. It remained unclear whether Holmes' professors and other students at his 35-student Ph.D. program noticed anything unusual about his behavior.

His reasons for quitting the program in June also remained a mystery. Holmes recently took an intense oral exam that marks the end of the first year. University officials would not say if he passed, citing privacy concerns.

Amid the continuing investigation of Holmes and his background, Sunday was a day for healing and remembrance in Aurora, with the community holding a prayer vigil and President Barack Obama arriving to visit with families of the victims.

Obama said he told the families that "all of America and much of the world is thinking about them." He met with them at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, which treated 23 of the people injured in the mass shooting; 10 remain there, seven hurt critically.

Congregations across Colorado prayed for the shooting victims and their relatives. Elderly churchgoers at an aging Presbyterian church within walking distance near Holmes' apartment joined in prayer, though none had ever met him.

Several thousand gathered for healing at the vigil Sunday night.

"You're not alone, and you will get through it," said the Rev. Kenneth Berve, pastor at Grant Avenue United Methodist Church and a witness to Friday's horrors. "We can't let fear and anger take control of us."

Meanwhile, the owner of a gun range told the AP that Holmes applied to join the club last month but never became a member because of his behavior and a "bizarre" message on his voicemail.

Holmes emailed an application to join the Lead Valley Range in Byers on June 25 in which he said he was not a user of illegal drugs or a convicted felon, said owner Glenn Rotkovich. When Rotkovich called to invite him to a mandatory orientation the following week, Rotkovich said he heard a message on Holmes' voicemail that was "bizarre — guttural, freakish at best."

Rotkovich left two other messages but eventually told his staff to watch out for Holmes at the July 1 orientation and not to accept him into the club, Rotkovich said.

The pastor for the suspect's family recalled a shy boy who was driven to succeed academically.

"He wasn't an extrovert at all. If there was any conversation, it would be because I initiated it, not because he did," said Jerald Borgie, senior pastor of Penasquitos Lutheran Church. Borgie said he never saw the suspect mingle with others his age at church. He last spoke with Holmes about six years ago.

"He had some goals. He wanted to succeed, he wanted to go out, and he wanted to be the best," Borgie said. "He took pride in his academic abilities. A good student. He didn't brag about it."

During the attack early Friday, Holmes allegedly set off gas canisters and used a semiautomatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol to open fire on theater-goers, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said.

Holmes had bought the weapons at local gun stores in the past two months. He recently bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the Internet, the chief said.

The gunman's semiautomatic assault rifle jammed during the attack, forcing him to switch to another gun with less firepower, a federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press. That malfunction and weapons switch might have saved some lives.

Oates said a 100-round ammunition drum was found in the theater, but he said he didn't know whether it jammed or emptied.

The shooting was the worst in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas. An Army psychiatrist was charged with killing 13 soldiers and civilians and wounding more than two dozen others.

Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt and Thomas Peipert in Aurora; Dan Elliott, Gillian Flaccus and Colleen Slevin in Denver; and Alicia A. Caldwell, Eileen Sullivan and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

Population of 'Switzerland' can have automatic weapons.

Their Devastating 'murders' by complex intellectuals, nuanced with Liberal 'critical thinking, is next to 'nil.'

As the complex Flexible one has said: "Think about it"


oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

i had a friend killed in the massacre at Luby's in Killen, Texas. He jumped on his son to protect him and he was shot in the back. This will keep happening. That guy was crazy as a March Hare.


Flap Doodle 1 year, 8 months ago

If we start arresting funny-looking people because they might do something bad, we're gonna need a bigger jail.


MarcoPogo 1 year, 8 months ago

Whew! I'm glad they keep mentioning his orange hair because it's that little nugget that lets us all know that this guy is a little off.


CWGOKU 1 year, 8 months ago

Who cares about the color of his hair?! Is it really important? Look, the guy was hoping for an orange jump suit and did not get one so he dyed his hair orange. Warm up Ol' Sparky


tbaker 1 year, 8 months ago

Didn't Batman used to be a family-friendly kid's show?

I wonder how the folks who want gun control would feel about imposing a ban on violent movies?


rockchalker52 1 year, 8 months ago

Shave that orange mess off his head. Delusional bastid standing out like a tabloid photo-op. Shave him, try him & kill him. During the trial, kick him in the balls a lot.


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 8 months ago

repaste please be specific, who do you mean? I am going to see this movie because I like Christian Bale as Batman. He has done a first rate job, Heath Ledger was the best Joker ever, giving an unique interpatation that will never be matched. People see the movies they will enjoy, so if you don't like action movies there are others that you can watch instead. I would like to clarify something here. I do think that Holmes should be punished for what he did. According to online papers he was dressed enough like a member of a swat team that he might have been able to fade into the scenery outside the theatre in all the confusion and got away but someone spotted an inconsistency. I just wish the jury could see him unmedicated, the way he truly is, and make a decision based on that instead of a drugged up zombie.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

To me, the ones to blame are the ones who did this movie, that conglomeration of Hollywood moguls, who are the new czars of America.

The ones who gave us Obama.

Now, speaking of Obama: To be honest, he gave a really polite speech. I guess it's all a president could do.

I thought Romney's reaction was more spiritually moving.

But truthfully, in my heart of hearts, I believe the president should have called Warner Brothers and said, "We're pulling the movie temporarily until we get on top of this."

And Warner Brothers should have complied.

But you know they can't do it, because they put him in office.

Obama is like an actor on Warner Brothers' stage. And you can't have an actor tell the producer what to do.

So that's why you won't get that kind of response from the government.

There's plenty of blame to go around. At the end of the day, kids are dead, maimed, wounded for life.

The other ones will be frightened for the rest of their lives.

And the only people who will never answer for this crime are the violence-peddlers -- those who have created the sewer pipe that runs out of Hollywood into everyone's brain.


Hudson Luce 1 year, 8 months ago

Two common household chemicals available at every grocery store and Walmart in the US could kill every person in that theatre for less than two dollars. Banning guns isn't going to stop homicidal crazy people. This guy was giving off lots of hints that things really weren't going so well for him, but I'll bet there's no organized way of detecting or treating people like him before they act out and cause damage or kill or injure people.


christiangirl93 1 year, 8 months ago

Hmmmm sure is interesting how this happened right before the UN gun laws vote.


iron_outlaw 1 year, 8 months ago

The hair color is fitting. Gingers have no soul.


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 8 months ago

I am much more interested in the statement that Holmes appeared to be dazed. That reminded me of the scene in the second Halloween I think it is, Michael Myers is being escorted to a parole hearing and Dr. Loomis is going along to make sure he doesn't succeed in getting out. A nurse asks the doctor what medication Myers is on and the doc tells her, thorazine. He will be lucky if he can sit, she says. That's the point, he answers. So, I am wondering if Holmes was so medicated before he was brought into the courtroom that he was unaware of what was going on or where he was. Will he appear to be indifferent at the trial and this will infuriate the jury and everyone will demand the death penalty party out of anger due to his perceived behavior? If he does not get the death sentence will he spend the rest of his life shuffling down the halls of an asylum drugged almost to the point of being comatose?


RETICENT_IRREVERENT 1 year, 8 months ago

14 people die in a one vehicle crash in Texas and no one bats an eyelash.

Is it because it was not a gun incident?


oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

the stuff on "Criminal Minds" pales to what really happens in our fair country. this guy would have found a way.


akt2 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't think any kind of restriction or law will stop a psychotic who wants to mutilate innocent people. Especially a highly intelligent psychotic. To add insult to injury, our government probably financed his rampage in the form of student loans since he was still enrolled until recently.


BornAgainAmerican 1 year, 8 months ago

Predictably, the left will call for a ban on guns and ammunition citing this example to bolster their argument. Guns are not the issue here. The root cause is most certainly James Holmes' mental illness and that should be the focus of any discussions.


oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

actually homicides in Chicago have gone down over the last ten years. although what is going up there now is horrible.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 8 months ago

Brian Ross said Holmes was "Tea Party".

Falsey queried if Holmes was OWS and had 'post' removed.

Now I ask this.

Knowing that a measure of complex OWS people 'raped girls' and pooped on cars. Which class of people is more likely to dye their "hair orange?" Complex OWS or Tea party,


mom_of_three 1 year, 8 months ago

heard this comment this morning ; that a person can not walk into a store and buy cold/allergy medication without an ID and its regulated by the government. But someone could buy 6000 rounds of ammo without any red flags.

and that the online dealers didn't even blink at the amount of ammo he was ordering...

no one cares about how much ammo he was ordering, but the government sure does give a crap about how much cold medicine I buy!


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 8 months ago

Fred Phelps clan is expected to make a trek to Colorado. The Donner family made a trek once.


oldbaldguy 1 year, 8 months ago

weapon jammed. thank god he was not an experience shooter. large capacity magazines are prone to jamming. i quit the NRA last year but still own guns, shoot them frequently and have CCP. civilians should not possess semi-automatic weapons such as AKs, ARs and similar types. no reason to have them. same thing with large capacity magazines. a crazy person can still have access to other firearms so this could have still happened, maybe with less casualties.


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