Colorado: James Holmes charged with 142 counts

1:20 PM, Jul 30, 2012   |    comments
James Holmes in his first court appearance, July 23 2012.
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DENVER (CNN/AP) -- The suspect in Colorado shooting case has been charged 24 counts of first-degree murder.

Holmes was charged twice for each victim who was killed.

There are three different classes of murder charges in the state of Colorado. One set of charges is because Holmes is accused of shooting after deliberation, referring to the planning of the attack. The second set of charges is because he is accused of having an attitude of universal malice, manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Holmes was also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder, one count that is a sentence enhancer because of violence and one count for possession of explosive devices.

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said last Monday that deciding whether to pursue the death penalty would involve input from victims and their relatives. A capital case would require a finding of either extreme indifference or deliberation.

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Launching a case that legal analysts expect to be dominated by arguments over the defendant's sanity, Colorado prosecutors filed formal charges Monday against James Eagan Holmes, the former neuroscience student accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora movie theater.

James Holmes pictures: James Holmes courtroom and adult site pictures

Attorneys also are arguing over a defense motion to find out who leaked information to the news media about a package the 24-year-old former neuroscience graduate student allegedly sent to his psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Denver.

Authorities seized the package July 23, three days after the shooting, after finding it in the mailroom of the medical campus where Holmes studied. Several media outlets reported that it contained a notebook with descriptions of an attack, but Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said in court papers that the parcel hadn't been opened by the time the "inaccurate" news reports appeared.

Gallery: Tweets, real time social media from Dark Knight shooting scene *warning, VERY GRAPHIC content*

Holmes allegedly began stockpiling gear for his assault four months ago, and authorities say he bought his weapons in May and June, well before the shooting spree just after midnight during a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises." He was arrested by police outside the theater.

Analysts say that means it's likely there's only one main point of legal dispute between prosecutors and the defense.

"I don't think it's too hard to predict the path of this proceeding," said Craig Silverman, a former chief deputy district attorney in Denver. "This is not a whodunit. ... The only possible defense is insanity."

More Dark Knight movie shooting coverage:

James Holmes pictures: James Holmes courtroom and adult site pictures

Victims: Those who died in the shooting

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Gallery: Tweets, real time social media from Dark Knight shooting scene *warning, VERY GRAPHIC content*

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Whole story: At least 12 killed, dozens injured in shooting at Colorado movie theater

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MORE: Colorado Mass Shooting news from KUSA 9NEWS our partners in Denver Colorado 

CNN.com/ AP

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