James, 62, went on what prosecutors have called an "entirely premeditated" attack last month that police described as the worst disruption of the morning commute since the 9/11 attacks.
James escaped the chaotic aftermath aboard a train across the platform and eventually rode the subway into Manhattan, where he was caught in the East Village, police said.
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James called 911 to alert officers to his location while bystanders recognized him and pointed police in the right direction.
In court Friday, James wore a drab beige smock and pants and a blue mask below his nose as he lumbered into court.
Asked by Judge William Kuntz how he was doing, James replied, "Pretty good."
He was asked eight separate times if he knew what was going on, and he replied that he did all eight times.
Kuntz continued a detention order imposed after James' arrest but declined to issue a permanent order of detention until the next court date July 25.
Last week, a federal grand jury charged James with committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation system and discharging a firearm during a violent crime.
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Both charges carry the possibility of life in prison.
James was arrested on April 13, about 30 hours after authorities say he drove from Philadelphia and unleashed smoke bombs and dozens of bullets on the train full of morning commuters.
All of the shooting victims are expected to survive, and 19 others were injured in the chaos that ensued after the shooting.
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