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Theater Shooter May Face 12 Counts of First-Degree Murder

The man suspected of killing 12 people during a shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, will probably face a dozen first-degree murder charges, according to a court document citing prosecutors.

The anticipated counts were mentioned yesterday in a judge’s order directing the University of Colorado, where suspected gunman James Holmes was a student, not to disclose information about him.

Twelve people died and at least 58 were injured when a gunman attacked theater-goers during a midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20. First-degree murder can be punishable by death in Colorado.

The Denver suburb shooting was the deadliest in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999 and the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since November 2009, when 13 people were killed at Fort Hood in Texas.

The office of Colorado State Public Defender Douglas K. Wilson is representing Holmes. Wilson didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on the filing.

Holmes, 24, made an initial appearance on July 23 in a Centennial, Colorado, courtroom where he was advised of his rights. He has been in custody since his arrest the night of the shootings.

Holmes didn’t enter a plea that day. A July 30 hearing was set for formal charges to be presented.

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said at the time that a decision on whether her office would seek the death penalty is months away.

“We will want to get victims’ input,” Chambers said at a press conference following the initial hearing. “Everyone is interested in a fair trial with a just outcome.”

The case is People v. Holmes, 12-cr-01522, 18th Judicial District Court, Colorado (Centennial).

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