Aurora (Colorado):  Alleged Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes is due to make his second court appearance on Monday as he is charged with committing one of America's worst ever mass shootings.

The few journalists allowed to attend the hearing will be watching to see if there is a repeat of the 24-year-old's bizarre behavior during his first court appearance a week ago.

Under a mop of brightly-dyed orange and red hair, he stared out wild-eyed at times and appeared almost dazed and sleepy at others, ostensibly unable to keep up with the proceedings.

Prosecutors have reportedly been battling defense lawyers over a package Holmes sent to his psychiatrist at the University of Colorado portending the midnight massacre on July 20 at a cinema in Aurora, near Denver.

Holmes gained access to the movie theater via a fire exit shortly after the start of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," and threw two canisters of noxious gas into the auditorium, said witnesses and police.

After firing into the air with a pump-action shotgun, the former graduate neuroscience student allegedly began shooting people at random with a military-style assault rifle capable of firing 50 to 60 rounds a minute.

Twelve people died, including six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan. The girl's mother, among 58 moviegoers wounded, is in critical condition after being shot in the neck and stomach and has since lost her unborn child.

Holmes could be charged with up to two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 people he allegedly killed. He could also face attempted murder charges for everyone who was in the cinema, not just those shot.

Prosecutors have said it will be several weeks before a decision is made on whether or not to seek the death penalty. Only one person has been executed in Colorado since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

Attorneys for Holmes disclosed on Friday that he had been a patient of University of Colorado psychiatrist Lynne Fenton as they sought to gain access to a package he had mailed to her prior to the massacre.

(Agencies)

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