Trial for the Dark Knight Killer Begins

Not surprisingly, James Holmes is using the insanity defense to escape life in prison. Unfortunately for him, two psychiatrists who spent 50 hours interviewing him concluded he was sane at the time of the horrific shooting.

James HolmesHolmes is responsible for the 2012 mass murder of an audience in an Aurora, CO movie theater. The rampage was during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. He is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others, facing a total of 166 felonies.

Holmes lawyers do not dispute that he is responsible for the shooting. But they do argue that Holmes was in the middle of a psychosis episode when he opened fire on the innocent audience. The trial began in January, with 9,000 potential jurors summoned by court officials. The trial is expected to last another four or five months. It will be an emotional journey for the people who must testify and face the man who killed their loved ones.

Defense attorney, Daniel King, asked the jurors to remove sympathy and prejudice from their decision in his opening remarks. He told the jury, “You’re being asked to set aside fundamental human emotions…I don’t know how you’re going to do that, but that’s your task.”

District Attorney George Brauchler is calling for the death penalty of Holmes. If Holmes is convicted, jurors must decide between the death penalty or life without parole.

Does He Have a Legitimate Insanity Claim?

Despite being accepted into a prestigious neuroscience graduate program at the University of Colorado, Holmes has suffered from mental illness for most of his life. At 11 years old, he attempted suicide.

He is exceptionally smart; the program only accepts six students each year. Even after his arrest, he ranked to have a superior intellect.

Documents show during the time Holmes was attending the program, he reached out to the school’s psychologist for help multiple times. He consistently looked for resources to help or eliminate his condition.

Even though Holmes has suffered from mental illness his whole life, has a family history of mental illness, and documents prove his willingness to change, psychiatrists still deemed him sane during the shooting. How is this possible?

Four days after the shooting, a neurologist and psychologist came to visit Holmes in jail to determine his mental state. The doctor concluded the Holmes, without any doubt, was presently insane. He immediately diagnosed him with schizo-affective disorder. There is no doubt Holmes is suffering from mental illness. But the jury needs to determine if he was ill at the time of the shooting.

Was Holmes in the middle of a schizophrenic episode the night of July 20, 2012? Or was he just mad at the world; he recently lost potential jobs, a girlfriend, and his reason for living. Either way, his actions will never be justified. All we can hope, is the families affected by the shooting find some peace at the end of trial.

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