‘Dark Knight Rises’ Shooting: James Holmes’ Lawyer Says Family’s Hearts Go Out To Victims

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The family of James Eagen Holmes – the suspected gunman in the Colorado movie theater shooting — has broken their silence.

The family members’ lawyer, Lisa Damiani, spoke out on their behalf on Monday in a San Diego news conference, saying their “hearts go out to those who [were] involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved.”

But Damiani remained mostly mum on the suspect and ongoing investigation.

“I can’t comment about James or the relationship between James and the family,” she said. “I think the family would like their privacy respected.”

In a statement read by Damiani, the suspect’s mother, Arlene Holmes, shared how she found out about her son’s alleged attack on midnight premiere of Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado.

“I was awakened by a call from a reporter on July 20,” the statement said. “I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time. He asked if I was Arlene Holmes, the mother of James Holmes. I said, ‘You have the right person.’ I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son.”

Earlier Monday morning, James Holmes appeared in court for the first time since the mass shooting at the midnight movie premiere of Dark Knight Rises in the Denver suburb.

Wearing reddish-orange hair and a maroon jailhouse jumpsuit, suspected gunman Holmes, 24, looked dazed, despondent and at times bleary-eyed as Chief Judge William Sylvester advised him of the case.

It was the world’s first look at the shooting suspect, who has been held without bond in solitary confinement at an Arapahoe County detention facility in Centennial, Colorado, since being arrested early Friday.

Holmes, 24, is expected to face first-degree murder charges — and possibly additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations — after allegedly killing 12 people and wounding another 58 during a Friday screening of Dark Knight Rises.

District Attorney Carol Chambers said her office is considering pursuing the death penalty against Holmes.

The victims’ families — many of whom sat in the courtroom or in an overflow courtroom as Holmes made his first public appearance — will be consulted in the decision. The DA has 60 days to decide whether or not she will seek capital punishment for Holmes.

There are currently only three people on Colorado’s death row and two of them were put there by Chambers and her prosecution team. The last execution took place in the state was in 1997.

Holmes — who has been assigned public defender James O’Connor — was not arraigned today. The judge said Holmes will return to court on Monday July 30, when the district attorney will formally file changes and Holmes will enter his plea.

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Holmes, a former doctoral student in neuroscience, has been identified as the man shot 70 people during the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises at an Aurora, Colorado, cinema early Friday. He was heavily armed, toting an AR-15 assault rifle, shotgun and handgun when he indiscriminately opened fired on the packed theater. Holmes was taken into custody in the Century 16 movie theater’s parking lot shortly after the attack. In addition to the 12 who were killed, 58 were injured, local Police Chief Dan Oates confirmed.

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