Killer who posed as 'the Joker’ appears in court

 

Last week (July 2012) a young man walked into a cinema in Colorado, the United States, whilst the new Batman movie was screening. Seemingly unprovoked, he released cans of gas and started shooting at innocent cinema-goers who were left fleeing the theatre. The attack left 12 dead and close to 60 injured.

The world is now asking itself what the motive behind the acts was and whether America's lenient gun laws are to blame.

Initial hearing

The attacker, James Holmes, appeared in court on Monday this week at an initial hearing which was attended by media, survivors, and those who were left bereaved by his attack. Holmes is only 24-years of age and has been described as an intelligent young man by people who knew him.

When he was arrested by the police, Holmes likened himself to the Joker, a villain from the Batman series. He had even coloured his hair in an orangey-red colour to imitate the villain.

In court Holmes did not speak and observers say that he appeared to be on some type of medication as he did not respond or react to what was being said. He is currently being held in solitary confinement and is on suicide watch.

No criminal past

Holmes is described by those who knew him as an extremely intelligent student who dropped out of university and grew up in a middle-class family. His ordinary and stable background is making many further confounded as to what drove him to commit murder and injure so many civilians.

After Holmes was arrested, the police went to search his apartment, which was equipped with explosives set to detonate if anybody entered. The police had to work meticulously to disarm a number of booby-traps.

The court process is expected to be long and prosecutors have to build their case against him. The defence, on the other hand, is likely to focus on Holmes' mental health and whether he can stand trial. The incident took place close to Columbine, which was the scene for a tragic shooting at a school just a few years ago.

Serious cases such as this are rare, especially in the UK. Visit our criminal law pages to find related articles and legal information.

If you need legal advice we can put you in touch with an expert solicitor. Call us now on 0800 1777 162.

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