Prosecutors in Colorado today charged James Holmes with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the July 20 deaths of 12 people and wounding of 58 during a shooting rampage at a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
As we reported earlier, some legal experts had been expecting he could face at least two charges for each of the victims:
KUSA-TV legal analyst Scott Robinson, the Denver station says:
“Expects 12, first-degree murder charges. He expects 12 charges of extreme indifference homicide, for shooting into a crowded theater. Robinson also said he expects at least 58 charges of attempted murder.”
That is indeed what prosecutors have done. In the “complaint and information” that is now posted online, Holmes is charged with two crimes for each victim:
— For those who were killed, he’s charged with intentionally causing their deaths and with “extreme indifference to the value of human life generally” in causing their deaths.
— For those who were injured, he’s charged with attempted murder and with “extreme indifference to the value of human life generally” in committing that crime against them.
The Denver Post says that at this morning’s hearing in Arapahoe County (Colo.), Holmes “was asked if he agreed to waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days. He responded ‘yes.’ That was the only time he spoke.”
The 24-year-old Holmes was also charged “with one count of possession of explosives. Authorities say he booby trapped his apartment.” And, he faces one count of a “crime of violence” for allegedly using deadly weapons.
The next court hearing, about news media challenges to the court’s restrictions on releasing documents related to the case, is set for Aug. 9. NPR is among the news outlets challenging the restrictions.
Update at 1:20 p.m. ET. Preliminary Hearing In November:
“Judge William Sylvester, chief justice of the 18th Judicial District, set a date for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 12 and it is expected to take one week,” according to the Post.
Update at 1:15 p.m. ET. “Just As Dazed”:
“Holmes appeared just as dazed as he did in his first court appearance a week ago,” The Associated Press reports, “but at one point he exchanged a few words with one of his attorneys in the packed courtroom.”