Aurora theater shooting suspect may appear on video in court today
The scene outside the Arapahoe County Justice Center, July 23, 2012.
AURORA, Colo. — The man suspected of shooting 70 and killing 12 during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” at an Aurora movie theater will appear in court for the first time Monday morning.
But the world may have to wait before it gets a glimpse of accused gunman James E. Holmes in person.
Knowing efforts must be made to secure the safety of the man who stopped speaking to police shortly after informing them he had booby-trapped his Paris Street apartment, legal experts are speculating that bringing Holmes to an emotionally-charged and crowded arraignment could incite violence.
“They may decide — just for security purposes — it may be easiest and most-secure to perform this arraignment by way of video,” legal analyst Karen Steinhauser said.
Police have already taken steps to make sure Holmes could even make it to his arraignment. Holmes has been kept in solitary confinement at the Arapahoe County Jail since he was arrested shortly after the attack Friday morning.
One recently-released inmate at same jail told FOX31 Holmes would have been murdered by other inmates if he had not been separated.
Two high-profile attorneys have been assigned to Holmes’ defense. Tamara Brady, chief trial attorney for the state public defender, and Daniel King have both tried high-profile cases before.
“I know these lawyers,” notable criminal defense attorney Chris Decker said. “They’re very competent, they’re very dedicated and they will bring the very best minds to the defense of this most serious case.”
Many suspect that Holmes will file an insanity plea. Steinhauser stressed that it’s important to remember that an “incompetent to stand trial” plea hinges on Holmes state of mind during the trial proceedings, not any state of mind he might have possessed during the actual attack.
“There has to be an assurance that the individual on trail understands the nature of the proceedings and has the ability to assist attorney in the defense process,” Steinhauser said. “An incompetency plea does not deal with any thoughts the suspect may have had at the time the act was committed.”
It will be 60 days after the arraignment before prosecutors can publicly declare if they will pursue the death penalty for Holmes. That decision rests with the Arapahoe County district attorney.