Colorado mass shooting perpetrator James Holmes, who carried out shooting in Colorado theater, in the Denver suburb of Aurora, plan to plea not guilty on at the pretrial hearing at 9 a.m. Monday, May 6. His attorneys will formally take the plea at a May 13 hearing. Prosecutors seek a death penalty by planning to file a court document listing aggravating factors that include the youngest victim Veronica Moser-Sullivan.
James Holmes was born in San Diego, California on December 13, 1987. He received an undergraduate degree in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside
with the highest honors. He graduated top 1% of his class and a member of Golden Key and Phi Beta Kappa. He was quiet and easygoing but described as a very effective group leader. In 2006, he worked as an intern to write computer codes at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and in 2008 as a residential summer camp counselor. Holmes’s academic performance declined in 2012. After failing the oral exam in June 2012, he dropped out without any explanation.
Holmes made a few suicide attempts when he was in jail in November 2012. He was charged with attempted and multiple counts of murder on Aurora, July 20, 2012, killing 20 people and injured 70 more. Standard not-guilty plea for him was previously entered on March 12 by Judge William Sylvester of Colorado’s 18th Judicial District. Although Sylvester hinted that they could change the plea by reason of insanity, if he showed sufficient cause. Holmes will undergo extensive psychiatric evaluation when the plea is officially entered. Insanity plea only refers to the perpetrator’s state of mind during the crime.
Holmes sent to state mental hospital
Holmes will be sent to the state mental hospital if a judge accepts the new plea. Whether the doctors will determine if he was insane at the time of shooting or not, a jury could still find him guilty. Colorado law states that “insanity is the inability to distinguish right from wrong, caused by a diseased or defective mind.” It excludes moral obliquity, depravity or passion caused by anger or hatred.
James Holmes attorney said that he was mentally ill and was being seen by a psychiatrist before the attack. Prosecutors said, Holmes “spent months buying guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.”
In the filing, prosecutors said that the shooting was “especially heinous, cruel or depraved.”
Every defendant pleading insanity
As heinous crimes become common so are defendants pleading insanity because they are not taking responsibilities for their actions.
James Holmes was charged with 166 counts of first-degree murder; attempted murder and weapons charge for opening fire during The Dark Night Rises premier. Then again, by law, Holmes cannot be sentenced to death if he is suffering from mental disease because if he is denied due process, his rights will be violated under the Colorado law.
Experts have it that, the scheduled trial for February 2014 could add months to the process with the combination of insanity and death penalty plea.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas