"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

James Holmes set to learn fate 3 years after Colorado movie theater shooting

James E. Holmes
James E. Holmes
Jurors will begin deliberating his fate Wednesday on the 165 charges Holmes faces in connection to the suburban Denver carnage.

Their decision will come about six months after jury selection began and more than 11 weeks after the trial's start.

Prosecutors alone called more than 200 witnesses to the stand, among them investigators, students who knew Holmes and his ex-girlfriend.

By virtue of his pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, the now 27-year-old Holmes has never denied he was behind the killing. But given his mental state, his lawyers argue that he should not be found culpable.

Prosecutors painted a picture of a once-promising neuroscience student who knew exactly what he was doing, both carrying out the attack and rigging his apartment with makeshift explosives ahead of authorities' arrival.

Those who spent time with Holmes as a PhD student at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora described him as quiet and socially awkward, but seemingly not "detached from reality."

Holmes' lawyers never denied that their client was responsible for the mass shooting, one of the worst in U.S. history. Their argument throughout the trial was that he'd been mentally off all along.

Months before the shooting, Dr. Lynne Fenton said Holmes told her he had "homicidal thoughts" as often as three or four times a day. As his treatment progressed, he told her his obsession with killing was only getting worse.

Yet the psychiatrist explained that she didn't place him in a psychiatric hold because he never disclosed his intention to kill or named a target. Nor did he talk about feeling manic or depressed or seeing "flickerings" or other hallucinations, as he did in a notebook Holmes mailed to her.

If the jurors decide to convict Holmes on multiple murder charges, the next question would be what price he'll pay.

Back in 2013, the prosecution signaled it would seek the death penalty.

"It is my determination and my intention that in this case, for James Eagan Holmes, justice is death," Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said then.

Holmes' lawyers have argued that he wasn't in his right mind at the time of the shootings. And his parents Robert and Arlene Holmes haven't spoken publicly, but they have written two open letters and published a prayer book detailing the family's internal struggle and pleading for their son's life.

Wrote Arlene Holmes, "Severely mentally ill people need treatment, not execution."

Source: CNN, Greg Botelho and Ana Cabrera, July 15, 2015

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