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Massacre Suspect Sports Red-Orange Hair, Dazed Look In 1st Appearance

By: KKTV
By: KKTV

Sporting a crop of reddish-orange hair and a dazed expression, Aurora massacre suspect James Holmes made his first appearance in court Monday morning.

It was the first time that families of the 12 victims in Friday's horrific shooting--touted as one of the worst in U.S. history--got to see the man believed to be responsible for gunning down dozens of innocent people gathered to watch the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Holmes sat in the jury box, widening and narrowing his eyes, and bobbing his head slightly as he listened to Chief Judge William Sylvester read him his Miranda rights. The alleged gunman rarely looked up.

At times his expression betrayed some emotion, other times he simply looked dazed. Holmes has been in solitary confinement since Friday.

When asked about Holmes' demeanor in court, 18th Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers said she does not know whether or not Holmes is on any medications.

Family members of at least five of the victims were present in court. The father of shooting victim Alex Teves kept his eyes fixed on Holmes during the entire appearance.

Chambers said that her office is considering seeking the death penalty for Holmes, but will consult victims' families before making that decision.

"There's so much the families of the victims have to take into account before the death penalty is sought," Chambers said, explaining that it is a lengthy process that could impact the families for many years.

The prosecution has 60 days to decide whether or not to pursue the death penalty.

Chambers said that there is no such things as a "slam dunk case," and that the prosecution still has a lot of work ahead of them before Holmes goes to trial, which is expected to be at least a year away.

Friday's shooting spree at Aurora's Century 16 theater left 12 dead and 58 people wounded--some so severely that many are left paralyzed or with brain injuries. Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said some victims may not survive.

Monday's appearance aside, little light has been shed into Holmes' demeanor since his arrest. Authorities have only revealed that he and his attorneys have been uncooperative with officials. 11 News has learned that the public defenders assigned to Holmes are among the best in the state.

Police have also remained tight-lipped about much of the investigation, but have said they believe Holmes acted alone and likely plotted the massacre for months. With Holmes refusing to talk, it could be a long time before a motive is uncovered.

Police say that had all gone as planned, Holmes may have left behind two bloody scenes instead of one--after his arrest, authorities found his apartment elaborately booby trapped. Aurora police say it was rigged to kill the first person who walked through the door.

The suspect could face two separate trials, one for the movie theater shootings and the other for his apartment. Authorities are still sifting through evidence obtained over the weekend from inside his home.

Holmes' court appearance verified one all-but-confirmed rumor that the suspect had been sporting dyed red hair during the shooting. Aurora police had refused to comment, but other officials had gone on record stating that he had.

The judge said Holmes will be formally charged next Monday.


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