James Holmes to Appear in Court on Monday

His defense attorneys could be arguing for mental illness

Aurora theater shooter James Holmes is set to appear in court starting Monday, January 7. Holmes is facing 166 criminal counts, for the July 20 massacre.

He walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" Batman flick. He opened fire upon an unsuspecting crowd, killing 12 people and injuring other 58 bystanders.

According to the Clarion Ledger, among the charges brought against him are several counts of murder and attempted murder.

District Judge William Sylvester of Arapahoe County, Colorado will preside over the first hearing in the Holmes case. It will go to trial if the judge allows it, barring there is enough evidence to make the prosecution's case.

Several witnesses saw Holmes during the Aurora shooting. He arrived at the theater dressed in a Joker get-up, having dyed his hair red and wearing make-up to better resemble the villain.

Minutes after the shooting, police apprehended him. As they searched his apartment, they found a booby-trap constructed with the use of gasoline and explosives.

His lawyers could pursue an insanity plea, reports say. Holmes had made threats to one of his college professors before. He was enrolled in a Ph.D. program for neuroscience at the University of Colorado, but dropped out on June 10.

He had failed his year-end exam in the class, and went to see a school psychiatrist. Defense attorneys might argue for mental illness, as the doctor tried to report Holmes to the school board.

Questions about his mental health first came up when he appeared in court on July 23. He stared at the walls and ceiling, and looked around the room appearing disoriented.

"We cannot begin to assess the depth of Mr. Holmes' mental illness," defense attorney Daniel King said at the time, according to a CBS report.

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