CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Opening arguments in the Colorado theater shooting trial revealed a torrent of new details about James Holmes and the 2012 attack that killed 12 and injured 70. The judge had ordered attorneys not to talk about many details until the trial started. So instead of a rehash of what everyone already knew, the first day of the trial was full of revelations:
Because he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, Holmes was subject to two state mental health evaluations. The results had been confidential until the first minutes of opening arguments, when prosecutor George Brauchler revealed that both exams found Holmes was sane at the time of the attack.
Defense attorneys countered that Holmes suffers from schizophrenia, thought Barack Obama was communicating with him through winks and nods in public speeches and held a bizarre theory that each life he took would somehow add to his own value. Behind bars, he sprinted into a wall while naked, cowered under a blanket and sucked his thumb and cried.
HISTORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS
Holmes’ two grandfathers both suffered from schizophrenia, as does an aunt. Defense lawyer Daniel King said during opening statements Monday that Holmes was a normal child through elementary school but began to have mental health problems in middle school, attempting suicide at age 11.
Defense attorney Katherine Spengler said Holmes’ mental illness “revved up” in his 20s. She said he wanted to study neuroscience to find a fix for what was wrong with his brain.
Many speculated after the attack that Holmes dyed his hair bright orange to emulate the Batman villain The Joker before attacking the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. But Brauchler said Holmes told investigators he picked the color just because he thought it’d look better than green or blue.
Prosecutors said Holmes had had a girlfriend who broke up with him months before the attack. He told her in an online chat about killing many people but she thought it was “theoretical.” The breakup devastated Holmes.
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