Aurora’s Dark Night: No Dawn for 12

After all the shock, the videos of people running in panic, some of them with blood-spattered shirts out of a midnight screening of the Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” after all the loss and grief and tears and interviews and the pictures of the victims, after “Deadly rampage at Colorado theater: 12 moviegoers are killed, 58 others wounded in Aurora,” after the guns and the vigils, after all that:

There he was in court today, July 23, flanked by what was presumably a public defender, bright right bird-nest of hair, looking a little bewildered or solemn, take your pick, in a jailhouse jump suit.

James Holmes, 24. Alleged—because that will be the most used adjective describing him officially—killer, murderer, mass murder of 12 persons, mostly young people, the youngest Veronica Moser-Sullivan, age six.

Until then, Holmes, a post-graduate student and San Diego native, was apprehended by police in this Denver suburb outside in a mall parking lot after the shooting rampage, dressed up like a member of a SWAT team and heavily armed. He has been held in solitary confinement and lockup ever since in Centennial, Colorado.

He has said next to nothing since his arrest, and he said nothing in court. Reporters have pieced together his story, which seems like some blank, minimalist abstraction, a loner life with a normal childhood. Police found his apartment to be a booby-trapped arsenal of explosives. He was a member of a 35-student Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus.

According to reports, the local district attorney is considering the death penalty charge. The hearing for Holmes was held in the same complex that includes the facilities for his lockup and detention, at the Arapahoe County Justice Center.

An unidentified source has said that a Batman mask was found in his apartment.

An emotionally charged vigil, at which several thousand people gathered, was held Sunday night. President Barack Obama visited with families of the victims at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, where ten victims still remained, seven of them injured critically.

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