James Holmes, sporting reddish-orange hair, was wide-eyed, frowning and unshaven as he sat staring down. At one point he closed his eyes as a judge spoke.
He appeared after being accused of the shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 58 others.
Holmes left the hearing in handcuffs. The judge said Holmes he will be formally charged next Monday.
The district attorney has lined up four deputy district attorneys who will be handling the prosecution, saying it will be a long and difficult process.
"I would say there's no such thing as a slam-dunk case," said Carol Chambers, the district attorney for the 18th Judicial District of Colorado.
A decision on whether to seek the death penalty will not be made for months and only after consultation with victims' families.
And as the judicial process began, the healing also began in Aurora.
"I'm so sorry," cried mourner Niece Paba as she shed tears for 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, the youngest victim of the movie theater shooting.
At a roadside memorial for the victims, there are 12 handcrafted crosses where tributes are being inscribed. The crosses were built in Illinois and brought to Aurora by Greg Zanis.
"If a family member was to put it up, they'd only put one or two up," said Zanis. "I put them all up."
Another story came to light on Monday: Air Force veteran Michael White Sr. helped save the life of his son's girlfriend. She was shot in the abdomen. He covered her with his body and literally held her together.
"She was crying out," said White. "She was telling me she didn't want to die. She was in so much pain I told her, 'I understand. I'm going to get you out of this.'"
McKayla Hicks took a bullet to the chin. She cannot wait for justice and hopes it will be the death penalty.
"He shouldn't be able to breathe anymore, honestly," she said.
Authorities said the 24-year-old former graduate student is refusing to cooperate and it could take months to learn what prompted the horrific attack on moviegoers at a midnight screening of the latest Batman film.
Investigators said they found a Batman mask inside Holmes' booby-trapped apartment after the attack.
Holmes has been held in solitary confinement since Friday.