Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this image taken from video provided by KUSA.com, James Holmes, left, the suspected gunman in Friday's Colorado theater massacre, makes his first appearance in court with his attorney Tamara Brady in Centennial, Colo. on Monday, July 23, 2012. (AP Photo/KUSA.com)
World gets first look at Colorado movie theater massacre suspect

Man charged in Colorado mass shooting sports dyed hair, looks vacant in first court appearance.

First Published Jul 23 2012 07:32 am • Last Updated Jul 24 2012 08:46 am

Centennial, Colo. • His hair dyed a shocking comic-book shade of orange-red, James Holmes showed up in court for the first time, but didn’t seem to be there at all.

The world’s first look at the man accused of killing 12 moviegoers and injuring 58 others in a shooting rampage at a packed midnight screening of the new Batman film was that of a sleepy, seemingly inattentive suspect.

At a glance

Prosecutor says trial will be long process

A Colorado district attorney says it will likely be at least a year before the suspect in a movie theater attack stands trial.

District attorney Carol Chambers says it will be months before a decision is made on the death penalty for James Holmes, who will be charged Monday.

Holmes’ eyes drooped and he blinked rapidly Monday in his first court appearance, at times opening his eyes widely.

Chambers says she has no information on whether Holmes is on medication.

Lawyer says suspect family stands by son

The lawyer for family members of the Colorado theater shooting suspect says they support him.

When asked if James Holmes’ family stands by him, Lisa Damiani told reporters Monday in San Diego: “Yes they do. He’s their son.”

She says the family’s hearts go out to the victims and their families.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Holmes shuffled into court Monday in a maroon jailhouse jumpsuit with his hands cuffed. Unshaven and appearing dazed, Holmes sat virtually motionless, his eyes drooping as the judge advised him of the severity of the case. At one point, Holmes simply closed his eyes.

He never said a word.

Prosecutors said they didn’t know if he was being medicated. His demeanor, however, angered victims’ relatives. Tom Teves, whose son, Alex, was killed in the attack, watched Holmes intently throughout the roughly 12-minute hearing, sizing up the 24-year-old former doctoral student.

"I saw the coward in court today and Alex could have wiped the floor with him without breaking a sweat," Teves said. His son, a physical therapist, dove to protect his girlfriend during "The Dark Knight Rises" shooting at a multiplex in nearby Aurora in the Denver suburbs.

The court appearance gave millions the chance to scrutinize Holmes’ every movement, every flutter of his heavy eyelids and form their opinions.

"It struck me that this is a person who’s been through an emotional maelstrom and therefore might be totally wiped out emotionally," said Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Gardere said there could be "a psychotic process going on and we see that being acted out there. Or there might be some sort of malingering going on. In other words, trying to make himself look worse than he actually is. Or maybe a combination of all of those things."

The hearing was the first confirmation that Holmes’ hair was colored. On Friday, there were reports of his hair being red and that he told arresting officers that he was "The Joker." Batman’s nemesis in the fictional Gotham has brightly colored hair.


story continues below
story continues below

Authorities have declined to confirm if Holmers told officers that he was Batman’s enemy. Investigators found a Batman mask inside his apartment, 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.

Holmes, whom police say donned body armor and was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and handguns during the attack, was arrested shortly afterward. His home was booby-trapped with a trip wire, explosives and unknown liquids that took a day to disarm.

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, who is being held in isolation, is refusing to cooperate, authorities said. They said it could take months to identify a motive.

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.

On Monday, security was tight as uniformed sheriff’s deputies were stationed outside, including on the roofs of both court buildings.

Holmes’ entrance into the courtroom was barely noticeable but relatives of shooting victims leaned forward in their seats to catch their first glimpse of him. Two women held hands tightly, one shook her head. One woman’s eyes welled up with tears.

Holmes sat down in a jury box, next to one of his attorneys. When the judge asked him if he understood his rights, his attorneys did all the talking.

Christina "Crispy" Blache, who was shot in both legs during the rampage, watched clips of Holmes’ court appearance afterward with her father, Robert Blache. Her father said Holmes looked insane, while the restaurant manager said she believed Holmes had no idea what he did.

"He seemed kind of out of it, just sitting there. I don’t really know what to think as far as he goes because he didn’t seem remorseful or anything," she said.

Prosecutor Carol Chambers said her office is considering pursuing the death penalty, but that a decision will be made in consultation with the victims’ families.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.