Colorado Shooting Trial, Day Two: The Charges

BY Victoria Fleischer  July 30, 2012 at 2:54 PM EST


People arrive at James Holmes’ arraignment hearing July 30, 2012 in Centennial, Colo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People sporting Batman shirts entered the Arapahoe County Courthouse Monday to hear the charges brought against James Holmes, the 24-year-old accused of opening fire at a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The July 20 shooting in Aurora, Colo. left 12 dead and 58 injured.

During his first, brief court appearance last week, Holmes appeared dazed beneath his still-dyed-orange hair, but today, no cameras were allowed. Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester has taken steps to keep the court proceedings quiet.

The prosecutors announced their charges to a packed court room. Shortly after noon, Rob McCallum, a Public Information Officer at the State Court Administrator’s Office, publicly announced 142 charges, including 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of criminal attempts to commit first-degree murder.

After the initial hearing last week, Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers explained that while 12 were killed in the shooting, Holmes can be charged with 24 counts of murder based on his conduct: one charge is after deliberation and the other is for extreme indifference.

Holmes also received one count of a sentence enhancer for being accused of a violent crime.

The final charge was a Class 4 felony offense for possession of an explosive device. The device, which authorities found in his apartment, took several days to dismantle. The apartment was said to be booby-trapped with enough legal exposives that, should they have been detonated, could have leveled the entire building.

Investigators also seized a suspicious package Holmes sent to Dr. Lynn Fenton, a faculty member at the University of Colorado-Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus and Holmes’s psychiatrist. Holmes’s had recently dropped out of his doctoral program in neuroscience at the Anschutz campus. The contents of the mysterious package were delivered a week ago, but the university has confirmed no other details.

Tune in to NewsHour tonight to learn more about the charges and what they mean for James Holmes.

In the meantime, check out the Denver Post for a sketch and coverage from today’s proceedings and their photo gallery of the event.

You can also watch past NewsHour analysis from the day of the shooting and the first day of Holmes’ arraignment.