(CN) – The 24-year-old former doctoral student accused of killing 12 and wounding 58 others at the packed midnight release of “The Dark Knight Rises” appeared in court for the first time Monday.
Looking dazed and exhausted in a maroon prison jumpsuit, James Holmes said nothing during the hearing. His hair, dyed bright orange, appears to confirm his only known statement after the shootings occurred, that he was “The Joker,” one of Batman’s nemeses.
Holmes has been assigned a public defender. He is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and could also face several accounts of aggravated assault and weapons violations.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, which was attended by family members of many of the victims, prosecutor Carol Chambers said her office is considering asking for the death penalty, but that a decision won’t be made until after she’s consulted with the relatives of the slain and injured.
“If a death penalty is sought, that’s a very long process,” she said. “It’s something that could impact people’s lives for years.”
That said, Chambers believe a final decision on how to proceed “will be made within 60 days of the suspect’s arraignment.”
The district attorney’s office plans to file formal charges against Holmes during a preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday, July 30.
Chambers predicted it will likely be a year before the case goes to trial.