Holmes Shunned Friends Before Aurora Theater Shooting

James Holmes' fear of getting arrested suggests the Aurora theater shooting gunman knew the difference between right and wrong, according to a court-appointed psychiatrist who evaluated him. The psychiatrist testified on Friday.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing 12 people and injury of 70 more in 2012.

The prosecution is showing the 22-hour psychiatric evaluation in segments to the jury.  In the video shown Friday, Holmes says he was very uncomfortable around people, and that he’d see violent images in his mind of people’s heads getting cut off. 

But District Attorney George Brauchler focused Holmes’ stated feeling that the FBI was watching him, asking the psychiatrist what he thought that might means. 

"It suggests that he knew that he knew that he was doing something wrong or planning something wrong," Reid replied.

Holmes said he fell into a deep depression after breaking up with his girlfriend in early 2012.  But Reid was skeptical, noting that Holmes continued to visit the gym and do well in his classes.  

This was Reid's second day of testimony. On Thursday he acknowledged that Holmes might suffer from mental illness, but, "whatever he suffered from, it did not prevent him from forming the intent and knowing what he was doing and the consequences of what he was doing."

The defense plans to call its own medical experts to testify that Holmes was insane at the time of the attack.

Also in the video:

  • Holmes said he returned from a Christmas vacation months before opening fire in the suburban Denver theater feeling sick and increasingly anxious and depressed.
  • Holmes told Reid that his mind was "falling apart." He had been diagnosed with mononucleosis, and his first romantic relationship was ending. 
  • Holmes described God as "everything."  He talked about going to church with his family and visiting an orphanage in Mexico with a group from the University of California-Riverside when he was an undergraduate.
  • He said faith was important to his mother, but that he was "never really a believer." He did say he felt loved at home.
  • Holmes said he was pushing away friends and a possible relationship two months before the attack because he was consumed with the idea of becoming a killer.