James Eagan Holmes, the 24-year-old neuroscience student and perverse fan of the Batman Trilogy villain “The Joker,” was charged today – during his second appearance in court – with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder – according to Reuters.
12 of Holmes’ counts are for first-degree murder, while the other 12 are for “murder with extreme indifference.” He will also be charged with one count of possession of explosives (for the booby-trapped apartment he inhabited which tenants are starting to flee). Prosecutors also filed 116 counts of attempted murder.
Holmes is not expected to enter pleas on Monday, though he – or his attorneys – could enter a plea anytime after the “Batman shooter’s” second court appearance that – unlike the first one – was not televised, as the coverage “could interfere with Holmes’ right to a fair trial;” according to District Chief Judge William Sylvester.
Analysts are predicting Holmes’ defense will argue insanity, which would make Holmes incompetent to stand trial (the same argument used by lawyers for Jared Loughner, who is accused of killing six people in 2011 in Tucson, Ariz., and wounding several others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords).
If Holmes' attorneys cannot convince the court that he is mentally incompetent (and he is convicted) they can try to avoid a potential death penalty sentence by arguing he is mentally ill.