Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

July 23, 2012

Colo. massacre suspect mum as he heads to court

CENTENNIAL, Colo. —

As the suspected gunman in the Colorado theater massacre heads to his first court appearance Monday, authorities have disclosed that he is refusing to cooperate and that it could take months to learn what prompted the horrific attack on midnight moviegoers at a Batman film premiere.

James Holmes has been held in solitary confinement at an Arapahoe County detention facility since Friday but will be moved to a nearby courtroom for a 9:30 a.m. MDT hearing, where he will hear the pending charges against him. Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and he could also face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations.

Prosecutors will have 72 hours from the hearing to formally charge the 24-year-old Aurora resident originally from California.

Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers said Monday her office is considering pursuing the death penalty against Holmes. She said a decision will be made in consultation with victims' families.

Holmes has been assigned a public defender, and Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the former doctoral student has "lawyered up" since his arrest early Friday, following the shooting at an Aurora theater that left 12 dead and 58 wounded, some critically.

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

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

Police have said that Holmes began buying guns at Denver-area stores nearly two months before Friday's shooting and that he received at least 50 packages in four months at his home and at school.

Holmes' apartment was filled with trip wires, explosive devices and unknown liquids, requiring police, FBI officials and bomb squad technicians to evacuate surrounding buildings while spending most of Saturday disabling the booby traps.

Investigators found a Batman mask inside Holmes' apartment after they finished clearing the home, a law enforcement official close to the investigation said Sunday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

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