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Colorado theater shooting: James Holmes' motive unknown

1:33 PM, Jul 23, 2012   |    comments
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Video: James Holmes' court appearance

Video: 911 dispatchers recount night of theater shooting

Video: James Holmes to appear in court Monday morning

Video: Prosecutor in theater shooting case: Death penalty decision months away

  • Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes (Courtesy: KUSA-TV)
  • James Holmes. (Getty Images)
  • James Holmes' mug shot
  • James Holmes. (Getty Images)
    
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  • Colorado theater shooting special section
  • By Carolyn Pesce and Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

    AURORA, CO - The suspect in the Colorado shootings appeared in court for the first time Monday with dyed reddish-orange hair looking dazed as his eyes drooped shut during the brief proceeding.

    Unshaven and wearing a burgundy jailhouse top, James Holmes, 24, sat motionless and didn't say anything as the judge advised him he is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder. The former graduate student is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 when he started shooting at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie on Thursday. 

    Holmes appeared in court shackled in a chain that bound his legs and hands. He has has been held in solitary confinement since Friday.

    Authorities say Holmes is refusing to cooperate and it could take months to learn what prompted the attack.

    Carol Chambers, district attorney in the 18th Judicial District, which includes Arapahoe County, said after the hearing that "there's no such thing as a slam-dunk case."

    She said prosecutors have not decided whether they will seek the death penalty. That decision could take at least two months and will be made after discussions with the surviving victims and the relatives of all victims.

    "There's so much that victims have to take into account," she said, adding that victims are impacted when the death penalty is sought because it becomes a long process that affects their lives.

    Chambers said it could take a year before the case goes to trial. Holmes is scheduled to be arraigned on formal charges on July 30.

    "It's still a very active ongoing investigation," Chambers said. "We are looking at this from every angle."

    It is also possible that there could be federal domestic terrorism charges, she said.

    James Holmes has been assigned a public defender. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the former doctoral student has "lawyered up" since his arrest early Friday, following the shooting at the Aurora theater.

    "He's not talking to us," the chief said.

    Holmes has been held without bond at a lockup in Centennial, Colo., south of Denver and about 13 miles from the Aurora theater.

    His hearing was at the same complex, and security there was tight early Monday. Uniformed sheriff's deputies were stationed outside, and deputies were positioned on the roofs of both court buildings at the Arapahoe County Justice Center.

    Hundreds of cars packed the parking lot of the courthouse before the hearing. Dozens of journalists from around the world have staked out the courtyard near the building's entrance as sheriff's deputies direct traffic and stand guard on walkways into the compound.

    Anggiat Situmeang was mobbed by reporters and camera people on his way into the courthouse.

    Situmeang, who said he lost a nephew in the attack, said he came because "it's very important" the killer face justice. He was then whisked inside by a woman wearing a PIO (public information officer) tag on her shirt.

    David Sanchez was outside the court Monday morning. His son-in-law, Caleb, was shot in the right side of the head and is in stable condition in the hospital. Caleb and Sanchez's daughter, Katie, were in the theater. Sanchez said Katie is due to deliver the couple's son, Hugo, on Monday.

    "It's been horrendous," said Sanchez, 53. "Nobody should have to go through anything like this. I hope he gets the death penalty."

    During reporters' questions Chambers spoke personally about the case.

    "It's just a difficult type of case to be involved in and everybody has been working all weekend," she said. People haven't "stopped to think of the impact yet."

    Contributing: Strauss and Oren Dorell, reporting from Aurora; Marisol Bello and Carolyn Pesce, McLean, Va.; Associated Press.

    For more: Colorado theater shooting special section 

    ------

    Explanation for James Holmes court appearance live coverage challenges

    NewsChannel 5 carried James Holmes' court appearance live on NewsChannel 5 and on KSDK.COM with a stream courtesy of our sister station 9NEWS which was the sole provider for all stations.

    A few minutes in to the court hearing, the video and audio froze-- a little bit at first-- and then so much you couldn't make sense of what was happening.

    It's not because 9NEWS doesn't know how to provide good video, it's because the court encouraged the use of new technology for security reasons.

    The judge allowed live video to be transmitted from the court room, but insisted that it be done without any wires running in or out of the room. The station opted to use LiveU, a sort of TV live truck in a backpack.

    Trouble is, the LiveU relies on the cell phone network, making multiple simultaneous connections to cell towers to increase the amount of bandwidth it uses and provide HD-quality video live.

    The technology crashed because of the multitudes of people using smartphones outside the courtroom during the proceeding.  The sheer volume of data usage in the area sapped the bandwidth that was going to the source of the information: the one feed being relied upon by the world to observe the court hearing.

    9NEWS is working on lessons learned and looking for solutions for next time.

    USA TODAY

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