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Aaronsmom

James Holmes, Aurora Mass Killer

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Interesting new twist in the case against James Holmes, the ex-grad student who launched a violent, murderous rampage in a Colorado movie theater last July. Last heard, Holmes attorneys entered a plea of "Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity", which most of the cable news and talk show pundits have called a distant long-shot, with almost no chance of success. Now it seems Holmes' defense counsels, against protocol, shared publically that they now wish to change the plea to a plea agreement of "guilty" for a life sentence without possibility of parole rather than the death penalty. Apparently, plea bargains are to be negotiated in private between the defense and the prosecution before alerting the judge--and the public. Because the prosecution had not responded yet to the proposed deal, they have commented they are very angry at the defense counsels' faux pas. They said they haven't decided yet whether to seek the death penalty, so it was premature to go publ ic with the plea deal defense hopes to enter into with the State. An article quoted a criminal justice expert saying the controversial move is probably a strategy to pressure the prosecution into agreeing to their terms. If the public, including slain victims' families and wounded survivors, knows Holmes would be behind bars for life and the whole thing could be concluded right away, saving taxpayers the cost of a trial as well as sparing survivors the ordeal of re-living the tragedy in court, while proceedings could drag out for years, the public might be angry at prosecutors for obstructing a less painful resolution, thus pressure on prosecutors to accept the plea bargain would step up until they are forced to fold.

Although I care very little about Holmes' life, I see him as a lost soul besieged by severe mental illness who must be removed from society permanently. That can be accomplished by life behind bars with no possibility of release just as much as executing him would. If that one concession by the State will spare taxpayers' money, and the victims and families the nightmare of a protracted legal battle, how can the prosecution justify refusing that resolution solely to insure James Holmes' eventual execution? It's the Unabomber trial all over again. I can only hope there aren't so many people hungering with bloodlust and revenge as to support the State's rigidly focused death agenda. Holding out for the death penalty for the sake of death alone is a hard "principle" to defend IMO.

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There's been so little information released about him. We still don't know why he did it. He should not be executed right away before he has medical tests, brain scans, etc.

But sometimes there is no answer to the question "why". At this point I don't see a need for mercy for him.

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It's not so much a question of mercy for him. It's more about achieving the same objective--keeping Holmes from hurting anyone again--by keeping him in max. security prison for the rest of his natural life rather than have the State kill him. If that can be accomplished without the enormous expense of pursuing the execution of this mass killer, and the protracted pain to survivors and loved ones of those killed by a lengthy trial and years of appeals, why not take the first option?

I doubt the question of "why" can or will ever be answered. To me, though, that question is a side matter from the only purpose that is essential--protecting society from this twisted killer.

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It's not so much a question of mercy for him. It's more about achieving the same objective--keeping Holmes from hurting anyone again--by keeping him in max. security prison for the rest of his natural life rather than have the State kill him. If that can be accomplished without the enormous expense of pursuing the execution of this mass killer, and the protracted pain to survivors and loved ones of those killed by a lengthy trial and years of appeals, why not take the first option?

I doubt the question of "why" can or will ever be answered. To me, though, that question is a side matter from the only purpose that is essential--protecting society from this twisted killer.

This all makes sense to me. As long as he is out of society for life, that's the main thing.

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They should research and study his case in order to prevent future mass murders. That might help the loved ones of the victims to make "sense" of the senseless too. There's no excuse for such crimes, but there might be explanations that provide insights into killers' minds. It may be instructive to know what makes them tick. They should look at all factors involved in these cases. See if there are commonalities and links. For instance, did the killers all take the same kinds of psychotropic drugs? My guess is that the majority of them did.

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They should research and study his case in order to prevent future mass murders. That might help the loved ones of the victims to make "sense" of the senseless too. There's no excuse for such crimes, but there might be explanations that provide insights into killers' minds. It may be instructive to know what makes them tick. They should look at all factors involved in these cases. See if there are commonalities and links. For instance, did the killers all take the same kinds of psychotropic drugs? My guess is that the majority of them did.

Part of what you say I think is relevant, and that would be to look at patterns in the escalation of the signs of deepening psychiatric illness in these mass killings with an arsenal of weapons, including combat-style firearms. This was the case with James Holmes and Adam Lanza in the Newtown school massacre, as well as several others. It could be illuminating to find commonalities in the nature and progression of the mental illnesses of these killers. Is there something that could signal to those in close contact with these people, like family and treatment professionals, when to recognize how dangerous they are, and what might be done to provide major crisis intervention to prevent a tragedy? I can think of other common patterns that would be important to identify--as early as possible--when a troubled person has a crossed a line that makes him or her a very dangerous threat to the public. You know who the person I would like the least to be right now? The psychiatrist who was supposedly treating James Holmes when his life began to unravel. I can only imagine the guilt she is carrying with her every day, the second-guessing she must be doing as to how things might have played out differently had she seen the signs early enough. I can imagine the shame she must feel around her colleagues. I wouldn't want to be her!

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They should research and study his case in order to prevent future mass murders. That might help the loved ones of the victims to make "sense" of the senseless too. There's no excuse for such crimes, but there might be explanations that provide insights into killers' minds. It may be instructive to know what makes them tick. They should look at all factors involved in these cases. See if there are commonalities and links. For instance, did the killers all take the same kinds of psychotropic drugs? My guess is that the majority of them did.

I agree. He should be extensively studied, not killed.

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Part of what you say I think is relevant, and that would be to look at patterns in the escalation of the signs of deepening psychiatric illness in these mass killings with an arsenal of weapons, including combat-style firearms. This was the case with James Holmes and Adam Lanza in the Newtown school massacre, as well as several others. It could be illuminating to find commonalities in the nature and progression of the mental illnesses of these killers. Is there something that could signal to those in close contact with these people, like family and treatment professionals, when to recognize how dangerous they are, and what might be done to provide major crisis intervention to prevent a tragedy? I can think of other common patterns that would be important to identify--as early as possible--when a troubled person has a crossed a line that makes him or her a very dangerous threat to the public. You know who the person I would like the least to be right now? The psychiatrist who was supposedly treating James Holmes when his life began to unravel. I can only imagine the guilt she is carrying with her every day, the second-guessing she must be doing as to how things might have played out differently had she seen the signs early enough. I can imagine the shame she must feel around her colleagues. I wouldn't want to be her!

It could be that psychotropic drugs worsen some situations. That's not to say that they don't help many people. There likely are famous and tragic cases in which they don't, though. That's why they should be prescribed with caution. It might be instructive to look at criminals' behavior in relation to their consumption of these drugs. How did they behave both before and after they took the psychotropic drugs? Also learn if there's a set of statistics that demonstrate relevant parallels that shed more light on multiple homicides. See how they apply in a historical context. For instance, is there a correlation between the rise of mass murders and spree murders and the use of psychotropic drugs? If so, our society should rethink the promulgation of certain medications that alter brain functions. We're all individuals with our own specific biochemistries. We should be as concerned with the side effects of psychiatric medication as we are with those of cholesterol medication.

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I agree. He should be extensively studied, not killed.

It could save lives if all factors are studies. Of course, there may be an "X factor" that is yet to be found.

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I just heard on HLN the State is refusing to enter a plea bargain. They know that a guilty verdict and the death penalty is pretty much a slam-dunk, so they see no motivation to accept a "guilty with life" plea. They had someone who was wounded in Holmes' gunfire talking on camera with a message to Holmes, imploring him to plead guilty to spare those he hurt further pain. I feel for him--deeply--but I think he's talking to the wrong person. He needs to take his plea to the State. Holmes is ready to plead guilty. All it would take is to be guaranteed the death penalty will not be imposed. But it's so important to the DA to get the death penalty, they have no other priority. I find that terribly short-sighted.

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I just heard on HLN the State is refusing to enter a plea bargain. They know that a guilty verdict and the death penalty is pretty much a slam-dunk, so they see no motivation to accept a "guilty with life" plea. They had someone who was wounded in Holmes' gunfire talking on camera with a message to Holmes, imploring him to plead guilty to spare those he hurt further pain. I feel for him--deeply--but I think he's talking to the wrong person. He needs to take his plea to the State. Holmes is ready to plead guilty. All it would take is to be guaranteed the death penalty will not be imposed. But it's so important to the DA to get the death penalty, they have no other priority. I find that terribly short-sighted.

Now, the conspiracy theorists will claim that the authorities want to silence him before "the real story" reaches the masses. They'll scream and shout, "coverup". They'll say that Holmes is a victim of mind control experiments. You'll hear about a second shooter.

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I think there was already a post on UM about Holmes being mind controlled.

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I think there was already a post on UM about Holmes being mind controlled.

That's par for the course. Some rumors and theories have more validity than others. Ted Kaczynski comes to mind. He took part in MK-Ultra experiments when he was in college.

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A second shooter? Where? On the grassy knoll?

Gimme a frickin' break!

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I just heard on HLN the State is refusing to enter a plea bargain. They know that a guilty verdict and the death penalty is pretty much a slam-dunk, so they see no motivation to accept a "guilty with life" plea. They had someone who was wounded in Holmes' gunfire talking on camera with a message to Holmes, imploring him to plead guilty to spare those he hurt further pain. I feel for him--deeply--but I think he's talking to the wrong person. He needs to take his plea to the State. Holmes is ready to plead guilty. All it would take is to be guaranteed the death penalty will not be imposed. But it's so important to the DA to get the death penalty, they have no other priority. I find that terribly short-sighted.

It's possible that the DA simply believes that if there's a case which warrants the death penalty, then this is one of them.

I doubt he's short-sighted, or pushing the death penalty because it's a slam dunk; I think he's more likely going with the majority of the victim's families and what they want.

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Part of what you say I think is relevant, and that would be to look at patterns in the escalation of the signs of deepening psychiatric illness in these mass killings with an arsenal of weapons, including combat-style firearms. This was the case with James Holmes and Adam Lanza in the Newtown school massacre, as well as several others. It could be illuminating to find commonalities in the nature and progression of the mental illnesses of these killers. Is there something that could signal to those in close contact with these people, like family and treatment professionals, when to recognize how dangerous they are, and what might be done to provide major crisis intervention to prevent a tragedy? I can think of other common patterns that would be important to identify--as early as possible--when a troubled person has a crossed a line that makes him or her a very dangerous threat to the public. You know who the person I would like the least to be right now? The psychiatrist who was supposedly treating James Holmes when his life began to unravel. I can only imagine the guilt she is carrying with her every day, the second-guessing she must be doing as to how things might have played out differently had she seen the signs early enough.

Great post, Aaronsmom!

Re: the psychiatrist, she must not have concluded that Holmes was a threat to himself or others.

I don't know what her records suggest about Holmes' mental status, but the following was learned in the Charles Whitman case.

According to the book, A Sniper In The Tower by Gary M. Lavergne, five months previous to the actual event, Whitman told a psychiatrist that "he often thought about 'going on the top of the U of Tx. tower with a deer rifle and shoot people'". The psychiatrist had heard many references to the tower before and he "interpreted it as a 'transient feeling' or an expression of depression common among students." He didn't think Whitman was dangerous, but asked him to return the following week. Whitman never returned.

"Minutes after Charlie Whitman left his office, Dr. Maurice Dean Heatly recorded notes on the session. He had no idea that the document numbered 8009, would become the most scrutinized document of his career and that it would change his life forever."

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Posted (edited)

I think Whitman was later found to have a brain tumor during his autopsy.

Anyway, more info was released on the contents of Holmes' apartment. It seems to show detailed planning on his part. Not likely a raving lunatic could have pulled it all together. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/evidence-found-james-holmes-apartment-says-him-192824689.html

Edited by little_dreamer
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Posted (edited)

I think Whitman was later found to have a brain tumor during his autopsy.

Anyway, more info was released on the contents of Holmes' apartment. It seems to show detailed planning on his part. Not likely a raving lunatic could have pulled it all together. http://news.yahoo.co...-192824689.html

I'm not buying the 'he is totally psycho' argument either. He has psychiatric issues, but we all do, although his does seem a little worse then most. That being said, he shows careful planning and premeditation before carrying this out which to me shows that he knew the damage he was going to cause. He knew it was wrong. There is a reason why he did this, and he knows it, but it will probably have to be figured out because he will never say. He can't, as soon as he says why he did this, his insanity case is gone. He's not insane. I don't think any of these mass murderser are totally insane, they knew it was wrong.

Personally, I think people like him, the Columbine kids, and the Sandy Hook kid, and all other mass murderers are scared, lonely, and selfish people. They want to gain fame before they die; they want to be somebody important, and the only why they know how is through infamy. This is why I have a problem with the media sensationalizing the victims.

The media just loves events like this....instant ratings! They shove the victims down our throats in a way just to get ratings. What does this do? This shows the next idiot just how much damage is done to people, just how much of a statement they can make by carrying out a similar event, but they know they need to make it even more horrifying.

Edited by ChewiesArmy
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I think Whitman was later found to have a brain tumor during his autopsy.

Anyway, more info was released on the contents of Holmes' apartment. It seems to show detailed planning on his part. Not likely a raving lunatic could have pulled it all together. http://news.yahoo.co...-192824689.html

I don't think either Whitman or Holmes were 'raving lunatics'. Neither was insane. Both crimes were premeditated. (Very calculated in the preparation and then the execution of their plans.)

Yes, there was a brain tumor found at Whitman's autopsy, but I believe it was incidental, and that Whitman was essentially no different than any other mass murderer.

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I don't think either Whitman or Holmes were 'raving lunatics'. Neither was insane. Both crimes were premeditated. (Very calculated in the preparation and then the execution of their plans.)

Yes, there was a brain tumor found at Whitman's autopsy, but I believe it was incidental, and that Whitman was essentially no different than any other mass murderer.

Both the Colorado killer and the Connecticut killer planned and prepared their murders. I'm not sure about the Arizona killer. All of them knew what they were doing. Whitman likely isn't in the same category, though. He actually snapped in a way that was out of character for him. It was a relatively spontaneous act. The malignancy or mass in his brain likely played the main role in his particular case. That's not to say that he absolutely couldn't control his actions.

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Both the Colorado killer and the Connecticut killer planned and prepared their murders. I'm not sure about the Arizona killer. All of them knew what they were doing. Whitman likely isn't in the same category, though. He actually snapped in a way that was out of character for him. It was a relatively spontaneous act. The malignancy or mass in his brain likely played the main role in his particular case. That's not to say that he absolutely couldn't control his actions.

That's why I say "I believe" and "I don't think"...because I know everyone will have their own opinion.

I agree that the mass murderers you referred to definitely knew what they were doing.

Re: Whitman, info I've read is that the tumor was malignant and that it was a very aggressive one.

According to his writings, Whitman predicted that there was a medical problem.

Of course, how much of a factor it was- or if it factored at all- in what he ultimately decided to do is something that will never be known conclusively.

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I think Whitman was later found to have a brain tumor during his autopsy.

Anyway, more info was released on the contents of Holmes' apartment. It seems to show detailed planning on his part. Not likely a raving lunatic could have pulled it all together. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/evidence-found-james-holmes-apartment-says-him-192824689.html

Yes, little dreamer, you're right. It's pretty clear Holmes planned out his massacre for months preceding, systematically and methodically. The whole set-up at the theater, with his car parked near the emergency exit, loaded with a whole arsenal of combat weaponry shows strategic planning befitting of brilliant generals. If his mental illness precluded an ability to tell right from wrong, no way would there be such elaborate camouflage to sneak his arsenal into the theater undetected. A person so delusional as to be clueless of right and wrong would not go to any trouble to hide weaponry. Holmes doesn't fit the profile of "not guilty by reason of insanity". He has no remorse...or doesn't seem to. But that's not the kind of mental illness that meets the term insanity under definition of the law. Why the psychiatrist treating Holmes didn't recognize the signs of the danger posed by Holmes' deepening psychosis I can't say. One thing I do agree with the NRA about is that gun control isn't the whole remedy. Much more serious attention must be paid to people battling mental illness and educating the public (and treatment professionals) on recognizing the signs of people who are in serious trouble (mentally).

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Why the psychiatrist treating Holmes didn't recognize the signs of the danger posed by Holmes' deepening psychosis I can't say. Much more serious attention must be paid to people battling mental illness and educating the public (and treatment professionals) on recognizing the signs of people who are in serious trouble (mentally).

Oh, but that psychiatrist did recognize the signs of danger... she showed that by reporting Holmes to authorities.

The issue I see is that once Holmes made specific threats, she had the authority to have him involuntarily committed for evaluation...for 24 hours, or 72 hours, I don't know.

Of course, no one can say whether or not that would have made a difference, but that's beside the point; it appears to me that she did have cause to commit him.

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