Here is a nice, tight little synopsis regarding what the true focus of James Holmes’ pending trial will be.
JAMES HOLMES’ TRIAL WILL FOCUS ON WHETHER JAMES KNEW RIGHT FROM WRONG
July 20, 2012. Just after midnight. A dark movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Audience members are seated to watch the highly anticipated Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the acclaimed Batman series. But what begins as a theater buzzing with excitement over the on-screen entertainment quickly turns into a theater filled with cries of terror over the real-life nightmare occurring in the theater. No longer is the audience captivated by Bane, the movie’s villain with his facemask and eerie voice. Their attention has shifted to the person standing in the front of the theater, with a gas mask and arsenal, spraying bullets at unsuspecting movie-goers.
Evidence of this plan, according to the prosecutors, can be found in the fact that Mr. Holmes purchased a ticket to the midnight screening twelve days in advance, after spending months searching for an exact location. Prosecutors also allege that Mr. Holmes purchased his arsenal of weapons approximately two months before the shooting. Further alleged by prosecutors is the fact that Mr. Holmes knew which theater exit he could use to leave and then re-enter without being noticed wearing a gas mask and body armor. Finally, they assert that the booby trap of explosives found at Mr. Holmes’s apartment demonstrates the organized nature of what was a fully concocted plan, not a spontaneous or maniacal attack by someone who lacks mental capacity.
The defense, on the other hand, in its efforts to prove his mental incapacity, has cited Mr. Holmes’s somewhat extensive history of mental illness. For example, after his July 2012 arrest, Mr. Holmes was hospitalized after apparently inflicting head injuries on himself and was entered into a psychiatric unit after being deemed a threat to himself. Police also found clonazepam, an anti-seizure and anti-anxiety medication, as well as the anti-depressant Zoloft in Mr. Holmes’s apartment after his arrest. It is unknown, however, whether either drug was in his system at the time of his arrest.
Even prior to July 20, 2012, evidence existed to suggest that Mr. Holmes was not mentally stable. For example, in the weeks leading to the shooting, Mr. Holmes asked a classmate in a text message about manic dysphoria, a condition that involves simultaneous manic and depressive states.
Additionally, he saw Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Denver, who subsequently reported to campus police that Mr. Holmes was harassing her via email and text message and that he was having homicidal thoughts. These reports occurred about one month before the movie theater shooting.
At the heart of all of this, when it is boiled down to its most basic level, is the difference between right and wrong. The State argues that Mr. Holmes absolutely knew what he was doing and that it was wrong; whereas the defense argues that Mr. Holmes was mentally incapable of knowing the rightness or wrongness of his actions. The defense further argues that it is wrong to allow the body who is prosecuting Mr. Holmes to also evaluate his mental health. The State, however, argues that to allow Mr. Holmes to avoid the death penalty by raising an insanity plea would itself be wrong.
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