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U.S. cinema shooting suspect facing 142 charges, angry families


08:08, July 31, 2012

LOS ANGELES, July 30 (Xinhua) -- A different James Eagan Holmes, appearing in public for the second time since he was detained in connection with the July 20 shootings at a midnight showing of a Batman movie, entered the Arapahoe County courtroom Monday where he was formally charged on a staggering 142 counts, including 24 counts of first-degree murder, 116 counts of criminal intent to commit murder.

The handcuffed, 24-year-old Holmes, wearing a maroon jumpsuit and his signature mop of unkempt, orange-dyed hair, appeared more lucid than he did a week ago at his advisement hearing, looking ahead at District Court Judge William B. Sylvester from the defense table where he sat next to Arapahoe County public defenders Daniel King and Tamara Holmes.

"He looked very alert and very sane," said Maryellen Hansen, aunt of 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, who was killed at the theater and her mother Ashley critically injured. Moser lost a baby she was carrying on Saturday, but legal experts say killing an unborn child will not be added to the list of murder charges against Holmes.

Hansen was one of the attendees at the Arapahoe County courthouse packed with victims and their families, law enforcement officials and the media. No cameras were allowed at the hearing because of a media gag order imposed by Sylvester last week.

"A conviction of First Degree murder carries a sentence from life-in-prison to death," Sylvester told Holmes.

Penalties in the charges against Homes add up to more than 5, 000 years in jail, although Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers says she favors the Death Penalty.

The murder charges against Holmes doubled as 12 charges of " premeditated" First Degree murder and 12 charges of "extreme indifference" First Degree murder. The 116 charges of attempted murder carry a maximum penalty of 48 years each.

"He did look evil," said Hansen, "but much different from the first hearing where he just looked spaced out," she said.

Hansen said as a Christian she does not favor the Death Penalty, but would like to see Holmes tried as a terrorist and stay behind bars "living with what he did for the rest of his life."

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