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Aurora shooting suspect has first court appearance

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (July 23, 2012) — The suspected gunman in the Colorado movie theater massacre had his first court appearance today.

James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring nearly 60 others during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a movie theater in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

Holmes, his hair dyed orange, has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest on Friday.

Appearing before Chief Judge William Sylvester, Holmes at times looked emotional and bleary-eyed, according to CBS News.

He was seated with an attorney from the state public defender’s office, Tamara Brady, and attorney Daniel King. Holmes is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and also could face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations.

Authorities say Holmes is refusing to cooperate and “it could take months to learn what prompted the mass shooting,” CBS said.

Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers said Monday her office is considering pursuing the death penalty against Holmes. She said a decision will be made in consultation with victims’ families, the Associated Press reports.

Police have said Holmes began buying guns at Denver-area stores nearly two months before Friday’s shooting and that he received at least 50 packages in four months at his home and at school.

His apartment was filled with booby traps, explosive devices and unknown liquids, requiring police, FBI officials and bomb squad technicians to evacuate surrounding buildings while spending most of Saturday disabling the trip wires.

A Batman mask also was found inside the apartment.

The Aurora shooting was the worst in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas.