(NBC) - James Holmes, the man accused of plotting for months and then carrying out a murderous rampage in a Colorado movie theater was back in court Monday, officially charged in the attack that left 12 dead and 58 injured.
His demeanor was markedly different than his first court appearance last week. Holmes was clearly more alert and more responsive as he listened to the official charges read aloud.
He faces 24 four counts of first degree murder and 116 attempted first degree murder charges. There are two counts for each victim: Shooting after deliberation and an attitude of universal malice, manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Dozens of family members and several survivors of the shooting spree were drawn to the courtroom. "When we've seen him before he looked kind of spaced out or out of touch," said Mary Ellen Hansen, aunt of 6-year-old victim Ashley Moser. "He looked very, very alert today and very lucid as to what was going on."
Holmes acknowledged the judge, talked with his attorneys and spoke for the first time publicly during the brief proceeding, answering "yes" when asked if he wanted to waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days.
His public defenders will likely use that time to prepare what most legal analysts agree is their only option in the case, an insanity plea. "He had a persona of evilness about him, but he looked sane to me," Mary Ellen Hansen added.
Along with the 140 murder and attempted murder charges, prosecutors also included charges of criminal violence and possession of explosives, citing the cache of bombs pulled from Holmes apartment.