Court’s Doctor Says Accused|Mass Murderer Is Sane

     DENVER (CN) – The first court-appointed psychiatrist to testify in accused mass murderer James Holmes’ trial testified Monday that he is “confident” Holmes was sane enough to be held responsible for murder.
     Holmes is accused of murdering 12 people at the midnight premiere of a Batman movie at the Century 16 theater in Aurora in 2012.
     Forensic psychiatrist Jeffrey Metzner told the jury Monday that Holmes’ detailed planning of the shooting was too “well thought out” for him to have been so insane he could not tell right from wrong.
     “Someone could have a chronic mental illness – they’re not psychotic all the time,” Metzner said. He said that that in his opinion, Holmes’ planning was done in a “manner to delay getting caught.”
     Metzner cited many behaviors Holmes exhibited before he went on a shooting rampage that killed 12 and injured 70. The state could seek the death penalty. Holmes’ attorneys say he is not guilty for reason of insanity.
     Metzner said that Holmes’ actions suggest he knew how the media, law enforcement, and civilians would react to the killings.
     Holmes took several precautions to hide his plans, such as buying ammunition in piecemeal purchases to avoid suspicion, telling his former girlfriend to avoid contact with him (ostensibly out of concern for her reputation and safety) and mailing his therapist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, the notebook in which he wrote out his thoughts, plans, and philosophies, supposedly knowing it would be of interest to psychologists and other professionals.
     Metzner said all these actions suggest Holmes knew there would be repercussions for the shooting.
     “[They were] his psychological attempt to divorce himself from considering the morality,” Metzner said.
     On cross-examination, Metzner said he agreed with Dr. William Reid, who testified last week that Holmes had a schizoaffective disorder, and that there is a “genetic” component to schizophrenia. Holmes has several relatives who have been diagnosed with such disorders.
     But Metzner said that diagnosis of a schizoaffective disorder did not mean that a person was legally insane.
     “He didn’t go out and buy water pistols,” Metzner said, alluding to Holmes’ purchase of pistols, rifles, and shotguns before the shooting.
     “It was my opinion that despite having a mental disability or defect, Mr. Holmes had the capacity to tell the difference from right and wrong.”
     Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. concluded Monday’s court session by ordering another mental evaluation for Holmes to give the jury a more thorough perspective, as Metzner’s information seemed “incomplete and inadequate.”

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