James Holmes Charged With 24 Counts of First-Degree Murder in Colorado Shooting

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Photo: RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images

Accused Aurora, Colorado shooter James Holmes appeared in court today to face formal charges in the massacre that left 12 people dead and 58 injured. Holmes was charged with 142 counts in all, including 24 counts of murder in the first degree and 116 for attempted murder*. He is also charged with possession of explosives for allegedly booby-trapping his apartment. (The full complaint can be read here.)

While Holmes has not yet entered a plea, his attorneys can argue under Colorado law that he is not fit to stand trial, or attempt to avoid the death penalty by asserting that he is mentally ill. "This is not a whodunit," one legal expert told the AP. "The only possible defense is insanity."

Unlike last week's haunting hearing, in which Holmes appeared dazed under a mop of orange and red hair, Judge William Sylvester barred cameras from today's appearance with hopes of preserving Holmes's right to a fair trial.

*This post has been corrected to show that Holmes faces 24 counts of first-degree murder, not 14.