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.


oldbaldguy 5 years, 7 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.

mac_bane 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree we do not need to possess them but come on aren't they just fun to shoot

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

I'd be ok with having them available for collectors with special licenses and stored at shooting ranges, but yeah, I don't think that needs to be the type of thing available at the local sporting goods store.

JPMAC 5 years, 6 months ago

Oldbaldguy: You need to be careful when you say semi-automatic weapons. You did mention some “AKs, ARs”. But then you will get shotguns and pistols mixed in. I don’t see any problem owning a AK or AR. I have an SKS and a M-4. I have the M-4 because that is what we use in the military and the AK is a low cost weapon to shoot. This guy was just crazy and there was obviously no one there to stop him. I have a CCP and I do carry everywhere I can go with it. I don’t go into a business that I can’t carry in due to the fact that business just took away my ability to defend myself and others. That is why I will no longer be going to the Southwind theater. They now have a no CCP sign in the window, like that will stop the criminals from going in. If people want to hurt other they will find other ways to do it even if they have to find a sharp stick.

mom_of_three 5 years, 7 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!

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the online ammo dealers thought the guy was a DOJ operative......

Kathy Theis-Getto 5 years, 6 months ago

Didn't we used to have a poster here who allegedly dealt in online firearms sales?

socnick 5 years, 7 months ago

What is your point? Do some research before you start posting uneducated ramblings.

mom_of_three 5 years, 7 months ago

What's my point? That it is nuts that someone bought that much ammo in 60 days and no one blinked an eye. no regulations which prohibited it, no one to say "hey, why does he need 4 guns and ammo so quickly." no one cared what he was doing or what he was buying.

FreshAirFanatic 5 years, 7 months ago

You do realize there are countless online dealers right? Or are you suggesting that some sort of national database be built to register ammo purchases and require cross-checking to previous orders? If so, what is your criteria? What's "too much" and "too quickly"?

DillonBarnes 5 years, 7 months ago

6000 rounds over a couple months is not an absurd amount to people that shoot a lot. I can't afford that many, but if I could, you bet I would be shooting thousands of rounds a month. That doesn't raise any red flags because people buy thousands of rounds in a single purchase all the time and don't shoot anyone.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

He could have been taking it out to target shoot watermelons and soda cans. Non mass murderers have done stranger. I'm not a fan of large ammo clips, but I don't fault online dealers for not being alarmed by the purchase.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Also more people drown within a week of eating an ice cream cone. The larger your shoe size is, the better your reading ability. Water is 100% fatal. All people that drink it will eventually die.

repaste 5 years, 6 months ago

NUmNut, I mean Norway, has high gun ownership rates,(about 40% of the US rate), yet an average of 6 people die from guns per year( with the one exception), while in the US we average what, 3,000? Or was that just Texas?

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

It isn't ethnicity. The violence in our country is partly due to different cultures. Americans are the most diverse citizens on the planet, and some of those cultures tend more to violence than others. Also, where different cultures overlap (like every 30 feet in America), those people tend to not like each other.

The color of a person's skin is irrelevant to everything except what color clothes they match.

Blaming a person's ethnicity is just wrong. Underneath the veneer of skin color, we are all the same robot just programmed differently.

BlackVelvet 5 years, 6 months ago

Ignorance is bliss. You must be ecstatic.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

The real question is which group of people are afraid of rifles because they are black. I'd say women and liberals.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 6 months ago

This guy was a nut, plain and simple. And who are you to judge someone by the color of their hair? I sense that you've got a bit of jesus in your brain, so if you want to make your savior happy, you'll refrain from judging people on things as ridiculous as hair color or party affiliation.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 6 months ago

Holmes was born on December 13, 1987, the son of a registered nurse and a mathematician working as a senior scientist. He graduated from Westview High School in the Torrey Highlands community of San Diego in 2006. Holmes played soccer and ran cross-country at Westview High. In the summer of 2008 Holmes worked as a counselor for underprivileged children at Camp Max Straus in Glendale, California.

He obtained an undergraduate degree with the highest honors in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside, which he attended since 2006, in 2010. He was a member of several honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key. The UCR chancellor stated that, having received the highest honors, Holmes was at the "top of the top". Holmes and his family were regular attendees of their local Presbyterian church.

Which class of people is more likely to be Christian? Nonsense, I know, just like your comment, FHNC.

oldbaldguy 5 years, 7 months ago

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

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

What exactly do you mean? Did the killer do things that made others concerned that he might be dangerous?

The only other reason I can gather for your remark is that you think citizens should be subjected to mental health screenings even if there is no reason to question their sanity.

Also, maybe you can explain a little better how private insurance made a man attending a university go on a rampage and kill innocent people. I'd like to hear that.

It costs me $25 to speak to my doctor about my panic/anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. He gives me an RX for pills that cost $3 under our private insurance policy. They work pretty well.

I don't understand the link between killer and private heath insurance. Help me out with that one.

JustNoticed 5 years, 6 months ago

As if you aren't predictable with your pre-modern brain and superstition nonsense.

akt2 5 years, 7 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.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, I was thinking about the booby traps he had in his apartment. If he hadn't been able to get the guns for whatever reason, I don't think he would have hesitated to set off a bomb in that movie theater.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

I hear we were giving him $26,000/year.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 6 months ago

A Ph.D. student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. He received a federal grant from the National Institutes of Health to work on his Ph.D. there.

oldbaldguy 5 years, 7 months ago

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

Stuart Evans 5 years, 6 months ago

it's because they were likely illegal immigrants.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 6 months ago

About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States -- one death every 13 minutes.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

I've heard this is the largest mass murder in American history. That makes the story pretty unusual. Yes 14 dead in a car crash is newsworthy, but it is sadly a common occurrence so it gains little attention. Mr Norml thinks it has to do with their citizenship, but I think it would be mostly ignored by the media regardless of who died in the car wreck because the other story is so much larger.

50 car pileup - 20 second report. 14 dead in one car wreck, a mention on the local news. Man with hair like joker goes on killing spree during batman movie - don't talk about anything else.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 6 months ago

Largest mass murder in American history? Not even close. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 25 others on April 16, 2007, in the shooting rampage which came to be known as the "Virginia Tech massacre".

sleepy33 5 years, 6 months ago

In 1927, Andrew Kehoe killed 44 and injured an additional 58 when he set off explosives at his home and the local elementary school in Bath, Michigan. 38 of those killed were elementary school students.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 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?

iron_outlaw 5 years, 6 months ago

The hair color is fitting. Gingers have no soul.

DG_kuJson 5 years, 6 months ago

Right, he dyed it orange. He's naturally a brunette so brunette's have no soul.

christiangirl93 5 years, 6 months ago

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

DillonBarnes 5 years, 6 months ago

One of the dumber posts I've seen on here in a while, of course with the exception of any post by FHNC ever.

Hudson Luce 5 years, 6 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.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 6 months ago

I believe that the killer was mimicking the movie "Rampage", not Batman. He was a big fan of the Batman series, however.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 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.

repaste 5 years, 6 months ago

I was referring to fhnc! I think his sort-of funny rants have taken a disturbing turn as of late.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 6 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.

tbaker 5 years, 6 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?

MarcoPogo 5 years, 6 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.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 6 months ago

What if he just wants to be a redhead? So everyone who dyes their hair is 'a little off'. Listen up, ladies! /s

Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

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

oldbaldguy 5 years, 6 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.

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