James Holmes Gets Double Murder Charges for Each Colorado Shooting Death (VIDEO)

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james holmesHe allegedly killed 12 people, but he's being charged with 24 counts of murder. This morning, the alleged Colorado shooter James Holmes was formally charged with 24 counts of murder: 12 counts murder in the first degree "after deliberation," and 12 counts murder of "extreme indifference." Holmes injured 58 people but has been charged on 116 counts of attempted murder. Those charges also break down to half premeditated and half "with extreme indifference."

My first thought was -- what is murder of "extreme indifference"? This is definitely a charge not many of us have heard before. I did some digging to find out more about that charge -- and what I learned reveals something chilling about crime in America.

I found another example of someone being charged with murder with extreme indifference. It was just a couple weeks before the Aurora massacre, and it was also in Colorado. A man was charged with the shooting of a police officer at a jazz concert. Allegedly the man got into an argument and shot multiple rounds into a crowd. A bullet hit a police officer in the head, resulting in her death.

Denver defense attorney Peter Hedeen explained the "extreme indifference" charge to the Denver Post: "Literally, that's shooting into a crowd. That's classically why this (statute) exists. It's also a lot easier to prove. You don't have to prove premeditation."

I served on a jury recently where the defendant was charged with two different versions of the same type of crime. One was a higher charge that would be harder to prove. And the other was a slightly lesser charge that would be easier to prove. Prosecutors will do this to increase the chances of a conviction.

And so I imagine prosecutors are hoping that if they can't charge Holmes for premeditated murder, they can at least get him for murder with extreme indifference, in the event that the jury doesn't find the case for premeditation compelling enough. If Holmes is convicted on premeditated murder, he could face the death penalty.

But I think it's tragic that we have a statute created specifically for people who shoot directly into crowds. That there's been so many of those incidents, we have a special charge for it! What is the matter with us? Why is shooting into crowds so common? It's something we should be asking ourselves.

Of course, following the heartbreaking news that one of the injured victims miscarried, some might say we should add two more counts of murder.

For more details on today's hearing, follow Denver Post reporter John Ingold via Twitter.

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Have you ever heard of the "murder with extreme indifference" charge before today?

 

Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

crime, death, in the news

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nonmember avatar LizzieBorden

Who cares what he's charged with? None of the charges he will face will change anything about what he's done. He's safe, fed, and alive in his cell. He will remain protected by our laws, unlike our innocent citizens who remain unprotected. Too bad he can't be burned to death like it was 1566.

nonmember avatar Zuri

Good! He should've gotten triple murder for all I care!

On the other case: Remind me to never move to Colorado. "Safest state" my butt. And if Aurora is anywhere near Boulder, I truly feel sorry for any little girl that lives in either one. "Over here a girl my age was killed 16 years ago, and over here a girl my age was killed two weeks ago. It's like a war zone around here." Not to mention Columbine...

Maxim... MaximumAsh

Let's do as the middle eastern people do and stoned him to death. I think a slow and painful execution is what this bastard deserves

annis... annismom10

All i can say is death penalty, death penalty, death penalty. Do any states still use the chair? Can we ship him there? & i think we'd save tons of $ on food/lethal injection if we starved inmates on death row. They waved their rights getting themselves there.

vamom08 vamom08

HE DONT DESERVE TO LIVE BUT I CANT JUDGE THAT SO MANY PEOPLE LOST THIER LIVES THAT NIGHT HE NEEDS TO BE PUNISH TO THE EXTREME NO WORDS CAN DESCRIBE HOW THOSE FAMILIES FEEL AND HE GETS TO LIVE WHILE A 6 YEAR WHO DIDNT GET TO REACH HER SWEET 16 BECAUSE OF THIS EVIL MONSTER .HE WILL GET WHAT HE DESERVE IT MIGHT NOT BE HERE ON EARTH BUT HE WILL HAVE TO PAY. MY HEART AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE FALLEN VICTIMS

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