THE man accused of killing 12 people in a shooting at a Batman film screening has appeared in court for the first time.
James Holmes, 24, sat in the Colorado court in a red jail suit with dyed orange hair and appeared dazed during the proceedings.
Seven of 58 people wounded by the gunman remain in critical condition. The dead include a six-year-old girl and two US military servicemen.
Holmes is accused of throwing two canisters of gas into a busy midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at the Aurora cinema complex on Friday, before firing at random into the crowd.
Witnesses said he was wearing full body armour during the attack.
Holmes is to be held without bail at a jail in Centennial, Colorado, the judge said.
Unshaven and appearing dazed, Holmes sat virtually motionless during the hearing, his eyes drooping as the judge advised him of the severity of the case.
At one point, Holmes simply closed his eyes. Prosecutors said they did not know if he was being medicated. Throughout the hearing, his lawyers did all the talking when the judge asked him if he understood his rights.
Holmes appeared in court for the first stage in a process likely to see him face at least 12 counts of first-degree murder. He could face further charges of aggravated assault and weapons violations.
Prosecutors are to formally file charges on July 30.
The office of prosecutor Carol Chambers is considering whether to press for the death penalty for Mr Holmes, a decision that will be made in consultation with the victims’ families, she said
Family members of the victims were in court, many in the first row.
Other family members waited outside the courtroom. Asked what punishment Holmes should face if convicted, David Sanchez, whose heavily pregnant 21-year-old daughter escaped the shooting, said he should be executed.
President Obama visited Aurora on Sunday where he had shared hugs and tears with families as they recounted the lives of their loved ones.
Meanwhile, residents have been laying flowers at a memorial site near the Century cinema and thousands of people have been participating in vigils.
On Saturday police managed to gain access to Holmes’ flat, after making safe explosive booby traps.
The FBI is now collecting evidence, and investigators said a computer found inside his home could provide crucial details.