On the 20th of July 2012, James Holmes killed 12 and hurt dozens more in a movie-theater massacre in the Denver-area, pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. If the judge deliberates in favor of James Holmes, he would certainly be committed in the state mental hospital for a indefinite period of time and theoretically might be admitted one day.
The case against Holmes doesn’t impress the attorneys and the psychiatrists involved, who say that it’s unlikely that the man was acting under temporary insanity.
Tuesday is the day of reckoning for Holmes, because it’s then when the selection of the jury will be made. He is charged with multiple murder and attempted murder and prosecutors are hell-bent on asking for the capital penalty. Holmes is pleading not guilty. The massacre was witnessed by the 400 people who were in the theater.
Dr. Steven Pitt, a forensic psychiatrist based in Scottsdale, Arizona, said:
“He doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of ever walking off the grounds of the Colorado state hospital.”
In all similar cases before, the law granted off-hospital privileges to defendants who had been found not guilty because of insanity reasons. In the majority of cases, these people killed somebody they used to know, and very many times that person was a family member. After thorough investigations, attorneys and prosecutors found that the killer had often been persecuted by the victim. This is the strangest fact about Homles: he brutally attacked complete strangers.
Karen Steinhauser, a former Denver prosecutor who is now a defense attorney raised an interesting point of view:
“The issue is going to be, how do we know that this person no longer has that type of mental disorder that could cause him to go to a different place, to a different community, to a different area and do the same thing?”
Forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt affirms that a treatment that will work and put Holmes’s illness to remission is possible. Theoretically.
The hearing of James Holmes will probably change the history in this legal matter. 9000 jurors that are about to be interviewed already have an opinion about it.
Image Source: The New Yorker