CENTENNIAL, Colo. – His hair dyed a shocking comic-book shade of orange-red, James Holmes showed up in court for the first time, but didn’t seem to be there at all.
The world’s first look at the man accused of killing 12 moviegoers and injuring 58 others in a shooting rampage at a packed midnight screening of the new Batman film was that of a sleepy, seemingly inattentive suspect.
Holmes shuffled into court Monday in a maroon jailhouse jumpsuit with his hands cuffed. Unshaven and appearing dazed, Holmes sat virtually motionless, his eyes drooping as the judge advised him of the severity of the case. At one point, Holmes simply closed his eyes.
He never said a word.
Prosecutors said they didn’t know whether he was being medicated. His demeanor, however, angered victims’ relatives. Tom Teves, whose son, Alex, was killed in the attack, watched Holmes intently throughout the roughly 12-minute hearing, sizing up the 24-year-old former doctoral student.
“I saw the coward in court today and Alex could have wiped the floor with him without breaking a sweat,” Teves said. His son, a physical therapist, dove to protect his girlfriend during “The Dark Knight Rises” shooting at a multiplex in nearby Aurora in the Denver suburbs.
The court appearance gave millions the chance to scrutinize Holmes’ every movement and form their opinions.
“It struck me that this is a person who’s been through an emotional maelstrom and therefore might be totally wiped out emotionally,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Gardere said there could be “a psychotic process going on and we see that being acted out there.
Or there might be some sort of malingering going on. In other words, trying to make himself look worse than he actually is.”
The hearing was the first confirmation that Holmes’ hair was colored. On Friday, there were reports of his hair being red and that he told arresting officers that he was “The Joker.”
Holmes, who police say donned body armor and was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and handguns during the attack, was arrested shortly afterward.
Holmes, who is being held in isolation, is refusing to cooperate, authorities said.
They said it could take months to determine a motive.
Holmes’ entrance into the courtroom was barely noticeable but relatives of shooting victims leaned forward in their seats to catch their first glimpse of him.
Holmes sat down in a jury box, next to one of his attorneys. When the judge asked him whether he understood his rights, his attorneys did all the talking.
Christina “Crispy” Blache, who was shot in both legs during the rampage, watched clips of Holmes’ court appearance afterward with her father, Robert Blache. Her father said Holmes looked insane, while the restaurant manager said she believed Holmes had no idea what he did.
“He seemed kind of out of it, just sitting there. I don’t really know what to think as far as he goes because he didn’t seem remorseful or anything,” she said.