James Holmes Charged With 24 Counts Of Murder

July 30, 2012 By:
James Holmes Charged With 24 Counts Of Murder

Today family members of victims and the survivors of the tragic Colorado movie theater massacre watched on as James Holmes made his second appearance in court Monday morning.

The hearing took place at the Arapahoe County Courthouse where Holmes’ defense team was formally presented with the charges against him.

Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder in the first degree and 116 counts of attempted murder.

The 24 counts of murder are split into two categories - 12 counts for premeditated murder and 12 counts for murder "under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice, manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally."

In addition, he will be charged with one count of possession of explosives, due to the booby trap he left in his apartment.

According to ABC’s The Denver Channel, it is expected that Holmes’ attorneys will argue that he is not mentally competent to stand trial. If that doesn’t work, it is possible that he can avoid the death penalty by arguing the unstable nature of his mental state.

The suspect was taken in to custody shortly after the shooting occurred in Aurora, Colorado. During a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, Holmes allegedly open fired on a packed screening room with three different firearms.

Holmes has appeared in court once before. On that appearance, Holmes – still in his now famous red-orange hair – was dressed in a jail jumpsuit and appeared to be medicated and not all together there.

As he sat on the defendant’s stand with his court-ordered attorney, Holmes sometimes struggled to keep his eyes open, head bobbing. At other times he appeared to be in shock, his eyes bulging open.

The appearance has led many to question Holmes’ mental state.

Unlike the first appearance, cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom for today’s hearing.

In addition to the mound of evidence against Holmes - including the fact that he is the only suspect - a notebook, which he mailed to a CU psychiatrist, has since been discovered with his plans and sketches of the massacre. Today, Holmes’ defense team will play the angle that the seizing and releasing of the notebook’s contents was a breach of physician-patient confidentiality.

"The government's disclosure of this confidential and privileged information has placed Mr. Holmes' constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by an impartial jury in serious jeopardy," his attorneys wrote.