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James Holmes Charged

142 Counts

Including 1st Deg. Murder

7/30/2012 9:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0723_james_holmes_tmz_mugshot_wmJames Holmes has just been charged with 24 counts of 1st degree murder -- two counts for each of the 12 people he shot and killed during the "Dark Knight" massacre in Colorado on July 20.

Holmes appeared in a Colorado courtroom ...  still sporting reddish, orange hair ... where he was also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder ... 2 counts for each of the 58 people who were injured in the shooting.

Holmes spoke in court for the first time during the 45 minute hearing -- answering with a soft spoken "yes" when the judge asked if he was OK with his lawyers requesting more time before his preliminary hearing.

0730_james_court_sketchAs for Holmes' demeanor, he reportedly stared at the bench blankly with his eyes wide open during the hearing.

One reporter said he seemed "peaceful and calm" ... and appeared lucid and aware of what was going on around him.

In total, Holmes was hit with 142 charges ... including one count of possessing an explosive device and one count of unlawful use of a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty, an option in the State of Colorado.

The 24 counts of murder are split into two categories ... giving prosecutors 2 options to nail Holmes for first degree murder. They can either establish that the crime was premeditated OR that Holmes acted with "extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Same deal for the 116 attempted murder charges -- 58 counts of attempted premeditated murder, and 58 counts of attempted murder with "extreme indifference."

Holmes' next court date is August 9th.

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