by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) As if there wasn't anything negative to add to the story of the horrible massacre committed during an opening weekend midnight matinee of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., this past weekend, you likely will be sickened to learn that the suspect, James Holmes, had previously been awarded a $26,000 taxpayer-supported grant to go to school.
The agency awarded the stipend to Holmes and also paid his tuition to the highly competitive neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Denver. Five other students at the school were also given the stipend.
It wasn't clear if any of the funds were used by the suspected gunman to purchase the vast array of weapons, 6,000 rounds of ammunition and other gear – such as his bulletproof vest, shin, groin and neck protectors, as well as a gas mask and other items – he used in the attack and to booby trap his apartment.
No cooperation with police
Holmes, who dyed his hair bright reddish-orange and called himself "Joker" – a character in the Batman series – has reportedly refused to cooperate with police. He is likely to be formally charged next week.
He is currently being held on suspicion of many counts of first-degree murder, but will probably also face numerous accounts of aggravated assault and weapons violations. During the shooting spree, 12 people were killed and another 58 wounded, many seriously.
Weeks before the shootings, Holmes abruptly left a 35-student Ph.D program in neuroscience for reasons that still aren't clear.
He reportedly took an intense oral exam that marked the end of his first year but so far, university officials won't say whether or not he passed, due to privacy concerns.
At a news conference following the shootings, university officials would not go into much detail regarding Holmes.
"To the best of our knowledge at this point, we think we did everything that we should have done," Donald Elliman, the university chancellor, said earlier this week.
The judge in the case has issued an order banning attorneys in the case from commenting publicly on matters related to the trial, including evidence, whether or not a plea deal is in the offing, or results of any examination or test performed on anyone.
With a female guard close by his side, Holmes was completely silent in his first court appearance Monday.
Death penalty a consideration
Prosecutors in the case asked the judge, who readily agreed, to give them more time to file charges.
The judge also placed Holmes in a no-bond hold.
As the judge advised him of the charges against him, Holmes – dressed in a maroon prison jumpsuit – sat there motionless, his eyes appearing tired and droopy.
David Sanchez, whose son-in-law Caleb Medely was shot in the head and survived, was in court when Holmes appeared.
"He looks demonic. His eyes are just crazy," Sanchez told the New York Post. "There's something wrong with that man."
The alleged shooter had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest early Friday morning, shortly after the melee ended. Because he is refusing to cooperate, investigators have said it could take months to learn about what prompted the violent, sadistic attack on moviegoers.
18h Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers has said her office is considering pursuing the death penalty against Holmes. She said a decision will be made in consultation with victims' families.