UK & World News
Colorado Cinema Gunman Due Back In Court
Prosecutors are expected to file formal charges against the man accused of carrying out the Colorado cinema shooting when he appears in court later.
James Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and an unborn child and injuring 58 during a midnight showing of the new Batman film in Denver.
The 24-year-old former neuroscience student's appearance on Monday will be his second court hearing since the shooting in Aurora on July 20 and he is not expected to enter a plea.
He could be charged with up to two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 people he allegedly killed, as well as attempted murder charges for everyone who was in the cinema, not just those shot.
During a bizarre first court appearance last week, Holmes stared out wild-eyed under a mop of brightly-dyed orange and red hair. At times he appeared almost dazed and sleepy, ostensibly unable to keep up with the proceedings.
The deadly massacre, which is one of the worst ever in the US, happened on July 20 as crowds of Batman fans flocked to midnight showings of the third part of the hit trilogy.
Holmes entered the cinema via a fire exit shortly after the start of the latest film, called The Dark Knight Rises, and threw two canisters of noxious gas into the auditorium, according to witnesses and police.
After firing into the air with a pump-action shotgun, he allegedly began shooting people at random with a military-style assault rifle capable of firing 50 to 60 rounds a minute. Police arrested him outside the building.
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, was the youngest victim. Her pregnant mother Ashley, who was seriously wounded in the shooting, has also now suffered a miscarriage.
Several people injured in the shooting remain in hospital in a critical condition.
Prosecutors have said it will be several weeks before a decision is made on whether or not to seek the death penalty for Holmes.
Only one person has been executed in Colorado since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.
Lawyers for the prosecution and defence are locked in a battle over a package Holmes sent to his psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, Lynne Fenton, presaging the movie massacre.
Holmes' lawyers are accusing prosecutors of leaking the existence of the package - reportedly containing macabre plans, including drawings of a stick-figure gunman mowing down victims - to the media and jeopardising his rights to a fair trial.
There are conflicting reports about when the package was sent so it is not clear if its discovery earlier could have prevented the atrocity.
There has been speculation that stress over failing a key exam may have been the trigger that caused Holmes, a promising neuroscience student who had won a prestigious government grant, to become unhinged.
Soul-searching in the US has been intense since the tragedy, but despite the staggering number of mass shootings the country has witnessed there appears to be no political will to address gun laws, especially four months ahead of the presidential elections.
Holmes had legally purchased four weapons in local gun shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the internet.
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what do you think?
If he doesn't get the death penalty the judge and jury should take his.place
"but despite the staggering number of mass shootings the country has witnessed there appears to be no political will to address gun laws"........... Well we can just wait for the next one and the standard response from the yank police department that deals with it "We aren't sure how this happened"....morons
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