James Holmes: Strange new mug shot, ten new counts -- and five more victims?
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On the same day that a new, wild-eyed mug shot was released of James Holmes -- one that shows his hair close-cropped and returning to its natural dark color -- the accused Aurora theater shooter has been charged with ten additional counts of attempted murder at the request of prosecutors. The documents released don't include names, but the format suggests there could be five new victims.
The judge in the case also granted a motion to amend seventeen of the original 142 charges. Though the details are under wraps, the changes may be as simple as correcting the spellings of names.
In all, Holmes is now charged with 152 counts: 24 counts of first-degree murder, 126 counts of attempt to commit first-degree murder, one count of possession of explosive devices and one sentence enhancer for a crime of violence.
At a hearing yesterday, Holmes's defense attorneys did not object to adding or amending the charges. Judge William Sylvester issued written orders allowing the changes shortly thereafter. Read the prosecution's motions and the judge's orders below.
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The shooting occurred at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, and Holmes was formally charged ten days later. The charging document released at that time listed seventy victims -- twelve killed and 58 wounded -- and included their names. Holmes was charged with two crimes for each victim: murder or attempted murder "after deliberation" and murder or attempted murder "under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."
But victims' names are blacked out in the judge's recent order to amend seventeen of those original charges. Casimir Spencer, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District, said she doesn't know why the names were included in previous documents but are redacted now. She declined to comment further, citing a gag order in the case.
However, it appears that some victims' names may have been spelled wrong in the original document, and prosecutors' amendments may be an attempt to fix those errors.
For instance, prosecutors sought to amend Count 60, which says Holmes "attempted to cause the death of Ferrah Soudana." It's likely that charge is actually related to Farrah Soudani, who was badly wounded in the attack. Soudani has been in the press due to a dispute between family members over two separate funds set up to help her. Soudani's parents say a fund set up by her cousin raised $95,000 -- but none of it has been given to Soudani.
Prosecutors also sought to amend Count 49, which relates to the attempted murder of a man listed in the original charging document as "Stephen Moton." But that may be a misspelling. A Washington Post op-ed written by a Denver pastor named Chris Hill begins like this:
It's Thursday morning, July 26. Six days have passed since the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo.
I am standing at the bedside of Steffon Moton on the third floor of the ICU of the Medical Center of Aurora (South).
I am holding the shaking hands of Steffon's grief-stricken parents, James Washington and Paula Moton. Together we cry out to God for a miracle.
Count 28 of the original charging document, which prosecutors also sought to amend, lists the victim as "Tony Billipando." USA Today reported that a pregnant woman named Toni Billapando was injured in the attack. She'd gone to the movies with her husband and several friends, USA Today said, including Alex Sullivan, who died in the attack.
Prosecutors also sought to amend charges related to victims originally listed as Christina Blanche, Zachary Golditch, Jay Jenkins, Bonnie Kate and Allie Young. A Denver Post storywritten the day the original charges were released notes that victim Bonnie Kate Pourciau was listed twice, once as Bonnie Kate and once as Bonnie Pourciau.
Some of their names appear to be spelled correctly, however. Allie Young, for instance, is the nineteen-year-old who was shot in the attack and whose story President Obama told after visiting survivors at the hospital two days later.
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