WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 – “There is no such thing as a slam dunk case … we will work very hard to prosecute this case as we would in any case.” - Carol Chambers, Arapahoe Co., Colorado District Attorney.
A new horror begins as victims, families of victims, and the nation begin to watch the prosecutorial process against James E. Holmes. Initial images of him, captured from the CCN News Room site, show an unemotional man who is seemingly disconnected from the room and the proceedings.
Holmes is being held in solitary confinement under suicide watch in the jail at the Arapahoe County facility in Centennial, Colorado, about 13 miles from the theater. Reports are that as he was being held, he was combative with police, spitting and fighting against them.
Holmes is being held without bond until he is formally arraigned next Monday. His public defender is Tamara A. Brady, Chief Trial Deputy for the Colorado Public Defenders Office. Brady and Daniel B. King, also of the public defenders office, will lead the Holmes defense team.
Chief Judge William Sylvester is scheduled to preside at the arraignment; CR1522 is the docket number.
Holmes is being held under a Rule 5 advisement. At the arraignment hearing he will be formally charged. Then wil begin the process of multiple evidentiary and motions hearings necessary before trial.
Reports are that Holmens will be charged with felony first-degree murder, a death penalty offense, but the court will have to determine whether the shootings were premeditated or an act of sudden rage.
If Holmes is convicted of first-degree murder, the decision to seek the death penalty will be based in part on statements by shooting victims and the families of those who died. If the prosecution chooses to seek the death penalty, this will lengthen the trial and appeals processes.
It is not known whether Holmes’ parents will be in the courtroom, though victims and families may choose to attend proceedings in the courtroom or in a private room where they have a closed circuit feed.
Holmes’ family issued a statement requesting privacy; a family spokesperson will be making a further statement sometime today. We will update here when that statement is made.
Holmes is being protected inside the prision, is in isolation, and is wearing a protective vest which is visible in the photos beneath his prison jumpsuit.
Filing of charges will not happen until next Monday. In most U.S. states the suspect is arrested and arraigned within 24-48 hours. In Colorado there is a so-called “Rule 5 Advisement,” which allows the prosecutor to continue the investigation for another 72 hours, or more.
Every citizen charged with a crime has to be seen by a judge within 72 hours, necessitating this Rule 5 Advisement hearing.
At this time, Holmes is being charged with one felony count of murder as the prosecution pursues its investigation and determines exactly which charges they want to bring against Holmes.
Holmes’ apartment was booby-trapped with the apparent intent to kill, rigged with more than a dozen explosive devices and liquid accelerants. It would have immediatley killed the first person, most likely a first responder, to enter the apartment, as well as others in the building. This may add to the charges against Holmes and is one reason that the prosecution will not charge Holmes at this time.
In addition, there are still victims in the hospital, eight of whom are reported to be in critical condition.
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