Sporting a brand new look consisting of horn-rimmed glasses and neatly cut hair and beard, James Holmes, who was wearing a gray sports jacket, blue-striped shirt, and khaki slacks, looked no different than his own defense team. He appeared in court looking calm and relaxed, sitting quietly and to onlookers, it seemed that he was fully engaged. However, beneath normal street clothes, law enforcement used the most advanced security measures.
Holmes is accused of the mass shooting and killing at an Aurora Colorado movie theater in 2012. At that time, the film “The Dark Knight Rises” was showing. Holmes stormed into the theater dressed as the Joker from the Batman movie. After tossing a canister of tear gas, he began opening fire on innocent moviegoers.
Once Holmes began shooting, bullets were fired less than one second apart, killing 12 people and injuring over 70 others. Included in his arsenal of weapons were semiautomatic guns and shotguns.
At the start of his murder trial, Judge Carlos Samour, Jr. said the thing most important is for justice to be served. To complete questionnaires, a group of possible jurors was expected to enter the courtroom but actual jury selection will not be complete until sometime late spring.
Experts expect Holmes’ trial to last for the majority of the year but if given the death penalty, there could be 10, 15, or even 20 years of appeals to follow. To select jurors, more than 9,000 summons were sent out, all people living in Arapahoe County. However, only 7,000 people were actually reached due to old addresses. Even so, that is a record number but considering the nature of the crime, necessary.
Judge Samour believes it will take upwards of 3,800 people in the jury pool to find acceptable people to determine Holmes’ ultimate fate. Holmes was a University of Colorado-Denver student who is said to be brilliant yet deeply troubled. While in school, he studies neuroscience but apparently had suffered from a number of psychotic episodes.
Robert and Arlene Holmes, his parents, broke their silence last month, expressing genuine sympathy for all of the victims taken down by their son. However, they added a caveat that he was not a monster. The couple also pleaded that the courts spare their son’s life, adding that he is a human being who suffers from a very serious mental illness.
One things that makes Holmes’ case so unique is that typically in mass shootings such as this one seldom does the gunman survive. Previously, the defense offered to let their client plead guilty without any possibility of parole if the death penalty was taken off the table but the request was denied with District Attorney George Brauchler saying that for Holmes, the only justice is death.
While the actions carried out by Holmes are evident, his fat is not. After all, in the state of Colorado, a mentally ill person cannot be put to death so if Holmes is found to be mentally ill, that punishment would not be allowed.