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Holmes' defense no strangers to big cases

  • Tamara Brady and Daniel B. King are Colorado public defenders with history of high-profile, high-risk cases
Holmes' defense no strangers to big cases

One day after the country got its first glimpse of James Holmes, the man suspected of spraying a packed movie theater with bullets, killing 12 people and wounding scores more, attention began to turn to the attorneys by his side.

Who are the people that have chosen to defend this man, who in so many people's eyes is suspected of committing the indefensible?

Holmes is being represented by two members of the Colorado public defender's office. Since, by law, everyone is entitled to an attorney, a team of public defenders is assigned when a defendant either chooses not to retain or can't afford private legal counsel.

The woman sitting by Holmes' side during Monday's hearing is Tamara Brady, the chief trial deputy for the Colorado defender's office. Also representing Holmes is Daniel King, another public defender. Both Brady and King are members of the Colorado public defender's capital cases team, a cadre of attorneys who represent clients involved in potential death penalty cases.

Read more: In Colorado's darkest hour, heroes emerge

Brady and King are no strangers to representing publicly reviled figures. In 2006, Brady represented Jose Luis Rubi-Nava, a Colorado man who was accused of dragging his girlfriend by the neck behind a car using a tow strap. Luis Rubi-Nava pleaded guilty to the charges to avoid a possible death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. During the trial, Brady and Rubi-Nava's other attorneys sought to have Rubi-Nava declared mentally disabled, which would have taken the death penalty off the table. However, a judge ruled against them, and Rubi-Nava took a plea deal instead.

King has previously defended Sir Mario Owens, who was found guilty of murdering two witnesses who were testifying in a case against him. At the time, Owens was on trial for another murder, and according to the prosecutors, killed the two witnesses to prevent them from testifying against Owens' friend. In 2008, it was ruled that Owens be put to death. He is currently one of only three people on Colorado's death row.

Though the defense team in place is equipped to deal with a death penalty case, it is still up in the air whether Holmes will face that possibility. Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers said Monday there is no such thing as a "slam dunk case," and that there is an "enormous amount of evidence" to sift through before making a decision. Though Holmes, who has not yet been formally charged, may appear as the face of evil to many who witnessed last weekend's tragedy unfold, he is still entitled due process.

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