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'Batman' Massacre Suspect Appears In Colorado Court

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes makes his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, on July 23.
The man accused of killing 12 and wounding 58 people in a Colorado movie theater has made his first appearance in court.

James Holmes appeared in court on July 23 in a red jail jumpsuit with hair died bright orange.

Holmes, a 24-year-old former graduate student, is being held on suspicion of multiple counts of first-degree murder following a shooting spree at a midnight movie screening on the night of July 19-20 in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

Holmes is scheduled to appear in court again on July 30 to be formally charged over the massacre. He was ordered to remain in custody with no bail allowed.

Prosecutors are widely expected to seek the death penalty for the attack.

According to media reports, only one person has been executed in Colorado since 1976.

Holmes is the only suspect in the shooting at the screening of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises."

He was arrested in the cinema parking lot minutes after the attack. Police say he gave himself up outside the cinema, still clad in the full body armor that witnesses described the gunman wearing as the bullets flew inside.

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Holmes had painted his hair orange, and claimed he was the Joker, Batman's arch enemy.

'Not A Slam Dunk Case'

Prosecutor Carol Chambers told reporters that prosecutors were "still looking at this case from every angle, following up on information that the media has obtained that would be of interest to the [police] officers."

"I would say there is no such thing as a slam dunk case," she said. "It is a case where we are still looking at the enormous amount of evidence and we would never presume that it would be slam dunk. We will work very hard on this case to prosecute it just like we would any other case.""

Since his arrest, Holmes has been held in solitary confinement to protect him from other prisoners.

His motives for the crime remain largely a mystery, with past associates saying he displayed no hints of a mental illness or violent tendencies.

He has recently dropped out of a doctoral degree program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical School, a few blocks from his apartment.

The suspect was represented by a public defender during the brief hearing on July 23.

A number of victims' relatives were present during the court hearing.

Thousands of people gathered in Aurora late on July 22 to mourn the victims.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who visited a hospital in Aurora, said he hugged and "shed tears" with survivors and relatives.

Obama said he told the victims and relatives of the shooting that the entire country is "thinking about them."

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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