James Eagan Holmes has been formally charged for his heinous actions in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20. Holmes faces formal charges for 24 counts of first degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder. The despicable actions of Holmes during the showing of The Dark Knight Rises resulted in the death of 12 people and the wounding of 58 others.
Two separate charges have been filed against Holmes for each person that was either killed or injured in the theater. The second charge asserts that in killing and injuring his victims, Holmes displayed “an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally.” He will also be charged on one count of possession of explosives, since authorities have testified that he booby trapped his apartment.
There was tight security in place for Monday’s hearing, as the roof of both buildings at the court complex were stationed with armed officers, and the entrances to the buildings were shielded by law enforcement vehicles.
A gag order was issued by the judge on both lawyers and law enforcement. The order seals the court file and bars release of public records shedding light on the details of Holmes’ time as a neuroscience graduate student at the University of Colorado at Denver. The sealing of the court file is being challenged by a group of media organizations.
Legal experts expect for the case to be dominated by arguments pertaining to Holmes’ level of sanity, as it is alleged that Holmes had been storing weapons and ammunition for the shooting months before July 20.
Former Denver chief deputy district attorney chimed in with his thoughts on the case, “I don’t think it’s too hard to predict the path of this proceeding. This is not a whodunit… the only possible defense is insanity.”
The argument of insanity may indeed turn out in Holmes’ favor, as it was revealed by his attorneys last week that he had been seeing a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado at Denver. The public became aware of this as a result of a motion to try and identify who leaked information to the media about a package that was supposedly sent by Holmes to Dr. Lynne Fenton, his psychiatrist. There has been much speculation from the media alleging that the package contained a notebook with descriptions of the pre-meditated attack on July 20.