Court-Appointed Psychiatrist Agrees Theater Shooting Wouldn’t Have Happened Without Mental Illness

· Jun. 5, 2015, 11:29 pm
Photo: James Holmes sketch, looking down, Aurora theater shooting trial(Bill Robles/For CPR News)
A courtroom artist's sketch of James Holmes.

Early Friday, Dr. William Reid agreed with Defense Attorney Daniel King: The Aurora theater shooting would have never taken place without James Holmes' mental illness.

Reid is the first psychiatric expert to take the stand and he has testified that James Holmes was not insane when he killed 12 people and injured 70 more during the Aurora theater shooting.

He has been unequivocal in his assessment that Holmes was mentally ill at the time of the shooting, but could still tell the difference between right and wrong. If the jury is decides that Holmes was sane at the time of the attack, he could face the death penalty.

On Friday, King pointed out that Reid examined Holmes and found him sane two years after the attack. Upon questioning, Reid agreed seeing Holmes sooner after the attack would have been better.  

"You’re more likely to see him as he was during the incident than you are if you see him, in my case, two years later," explained Reid. 
King also pointed out his client was on psychiatric medications during Reid’s exam, medications he wasn’t on before and during the attack. The attorney further indicated Holmes' family history with mental illness and reminded Reid that he himself diagnosed Holmes as delusional. 

In further questioning, King noted that a doctor who examined Holmes for the defense came to the conclusion that Homes was insane and lacked the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong. Presented with this evidence, Reid said, "that's what his report says, yes."

As for a psychotic break Holmes experienced in the jail a few months after the shooting, Reid said that yes, Holmes appeared to be "acutely psychotic."

On re-direct, District Attorney George Brauchler countered that Holmes experienced these symptoms after the shooting and that Holmes admitted he wasn’t hearing voices leading up to, or during, the attack.

Dr. Reid reiterated that even if Holmes was delusional before the attack, he could still tell understand the difference between right and wrong.

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