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Colorado suspect charged with 24 counts of murder

  • In this Monday, July 23, 2012 file photo, James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people in Friday's shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, appears in Arapahoe County District Court with defense attorney Tamara Brady in Centennial, Colo. Colorado prosecutors are filing formal charges Monday July 30, 2012, against Holmes, the former neuroscience student accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora movie theater. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Colorado prosecutors on Monday charged a former neuroscience graduate student with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the shooting rampage at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

James Holmes appeared just as dazed as he did in his first court appearance last week, but at one point exchanged a few words with one of his attorneys in the packed courtroom.

The breakdown of the charges was not immediately clear.

The attack at "The Dark Knight Rises" left 12 people dead and 58 others injured. After his arrest, police said they found that his apartment was booby trapped. Among the charges Monday was one count of possession of explosives.

Legal analysts expect the case to be dominated by arguments over the defendant's sanity.

Unlike Holmes' first court appearance July 23, Monday's hearing was not televised. At the request of the defense, District Chief Judge William Sylvester barred video and still cameras from the hearing, saying expanded coverage could interfere with Holmes' right to a fair trial.

Last week, Sylvester allowed a live video feed that permitted the world its first glimpse of the shooting suspect. With an unruly mop of orange hair, Holmes appeared bleary-eyed and distracted. He did not speak.

Attorneys also were arguing over a defense motion to find out who leaked information to the news media about a package the 24-year-old Holmes 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.

Security was tight for Monday's hearing. Armed officers were stationed on the roof of both buildings at the court complex, and law enforcement vehicles blocked entrances to the buildings.

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