James Egan Holmes Update: Colorado Shooter Preliminary Trial on November 6
Sep 25, 2012 03:01 PM EDT
(Photo : Reuters )
The case of James Egan Holmes, the alleged shooter who opened fire at a midnight screening of the Dark Knight Rises at an Aurora movie theater in Colorado killing 12 and seriously wounding 59 others, has been scheduled for a preliminary trial on November 6.
Former Ph.D. student has not yet made a plea, but it is very likely that the 24-year-old will be pleading not-guilty due to insanity. Prosecutors have already charged him with 12 counts of murder and 116 of attempted murder. But now, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson seeks to add 10 counts to Holmes' 142 counts and amend 17 others.
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Last week, prosecutors withdrew a request to gain access to Holmes' infamous diary which he sent to the university psychiatrist detailing all aspects of the fatal shootout.
Prosecutors started the day with a bid to gain access to the notebook by presenting lead police investigator Craig Appel and detective Tom Welton to testify the importance of the book to the case; but the same afternoon expressed a change of heart and withdrew that request. Prosecutor explained that if Holmes pled not-guilty on grounds of insanity that would ensure access to the book. And since it is very likely that the 24-year-old will plead insanity, prosecutors believe the battle for access was unnecessary.
But if Holmes and his defense Daniel King opt for the insanity option, the case for prosecutors might become tricky, since this would mean that the burden of proof shifts to prosecutors, who will have to prove that Holmes is mentally sound.
According to the Colorado state law, prosecutors must prove the defense's sanity. Prosecutors will not be able to use their own examiners in investigating the defendant's mental state.
"It's burden of proof on steroids, it's totally subjective. It's not like proving somebody pulled the trigger. That's objective," said former federal prosecutor, Marcellus McRae, now in private trial attorney in Los Angeles to the Huffington Post.
Currently, the alleged shooter Holmes is being held in a detention facility of Arapahoe County in solitary confinement. He is being charged with.
The past few weeks have resulted in some revealing details of Holmes mental state. A recent New York Times revealed that Holmes believed himself to be suffering from a mental disorder called Dysphoric mania, which is categorized by "significant depressive symptoms -- which seems like kind of a strange concept, but if you imagine feeling extremely irritable, uncomfortable, revved up, that starts to give a sense of what mixed mania probably feels like," according to Psychiatrist, Roy Perlis of Massachusetts General Hospital and Assist. Prof. of Psychiatry at Harvard University, on an interview with ABC News.
A few weeks into the trial, the University of Colorado Psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton said that she informed a police about the PhD drop out expressing concern that her patient showed signs of imminent violence. In addition, police recovered a journal that Holmes sent the university physiatrist cautioning on the upcoming fatal event he planned.
Defense Daniel King has objected to prosecutors' bid for a gag order to get access to Holmes academic records. "They are fishing around to establish a motive. ... The motive is irrelevant...Nothing in those documents will reveal any intent," as reported by the Christian Monitor.
Prosecutors claim that Holmes apparently showed a number of worrisome signs many months prior to the Aurora movie theatre shootout. Prosecutors are arguing that Holmes' deteriorating grades and growing unhappiness as a student might reveal insight into the motive behind the massacre.
Pearson argued that the release of school records, including transcripts, but not medical reports are "All of this is relevant to his decision to withdraw from school, booby-trap his apartment and buy ammunition...What's going on in the defendant's life at the time is extremely relevant to this case," as reported by the Huffington Post. Pearson was insinuating that Holmes was becoming increasing disgruntled with the school, which likely caused him to snap.
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers told News Day that she is considering pursuing the death penalty, but only after consulting with the victims and their families.
On July 20, at a midnight screening of the cult-inducing Dark Knight Rises film at a movie house in Aurora, Colorado, Holmes, opened fire killing 12 people and injuring 59 others. He was arrested that morning and placed in custody.