New DA To Prosecute Holmes Case Next Year

DENVER (CBS4) – There will be a new district attorney looking to prosecute Aurora movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes next year.

The Aurora Sentinel reports that either Republican George Brauchler or Democrat Ethan Feldman will be taking over for current Arapahoe County DA Carol Chambers who is term limited.

“They are going to have to get up to speed very, very quickly,” Karen Steinhauser, University of Denver law professor, told the Sentinel.

Bob Grant, a former Adams County DA, told the Sentinel that there are usually no problems during transition periods.

“A transition always occurs, and there are always big cases going on, that’s what you have staff for,” he told the paper.

Brauchler refused to say if he would seek the death penalty for Holmes if elected DA.

“It would be irresponsible to make a decision based on the limited information we have, especially this early,” Brauchler told the Sentinel.

Holmes, 24, was charged Monday with 24 counts of murder, two each for the 12 victims, and 116 counts of attempted murder, two each for the 58 injured.

For the murder charges, one count included murder with deliberation, the other murder with extreme indifference. Both counts carry a maximum death penalty upon conviction; the minimum is life without parole.

A conviction under extreme indifference means that any life sentences would have to be served consecutively, not concurrently, said Craig Silverman, a former chief deputy district attorney in Denver.

In addition, Holmes was charged with one count of possession of explosives and one count of a crime of violence.

A hearing to update the status of the case was set for Sept. 27. A hearing to review evidence matters and to determine whether Holmes should continue to be held without bail was set for the week of Nov. 9.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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