Mass Murder Defendant Isn’t Faking, Doctor Testifies

     DENVER (CN) – The man accused of murdering 12 people at a Batman movie and wounding 70 is not faking his mental illness, a doctor testified in his defense Wednesday.
     Dr. Rose Manguso administered personality tests to James Holmes after the July 20, 2012 massacre at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colo. Holmes’ attorneys are trying to spare him from a possible death sentence by claiming he was insane at the time.
     Manguso, a neuropsychologist, worked at the state mental health hospital in Pueblo where Holmes was taken in early 2013, five months after massacre.
     District Attorney George Brauchler and Holmes’ public defender Dan King on Wednesday both questioned Manguso about the tests she administered. The prosecution rested its case last week.
     Tests administered to Holmes included a Seashore Rhythm Test, which gauges concentration, a Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination, which tests language skills, and tests of Holmes’ “executive functions” which Manguso called “our highest level of intellectual processing and ability to reason.”
     Holmes fell into the average to above average range for most of the tests, but slightly below average for the Seashore Rhythm Test and the Boston Diagnostic, Manguso said.
     Brauchler said the test scores could signify that Holmes was not as mentally impaired as the defense claims him to be, but King reminded the court that Holmes was taking Risperdal, an antipsychotic medication, and had been on the prescribed drug before the testing took place.
     King asked Manguso if the medication could affect Holmes’ test results and make him fall into normal categories.
     “That can certainly be significant,” Manguso said. “It could affect it in different ways.”
     “Is it very possible, then, that his neuropsychological functioning would be worse if he was not on medication?” King asked.
     “Yes,” Manguso replied.
     Brauchler asked Manguso about the limitations of her tests.
     “Despite the fact that someone has a mental illness, regardless of what it is, that is not a preclusion to their ability to plan and carry out the murder of dozens, correct?” Brauchler asked.
     “That is correct,” Manguso agreed.
     Brauchler asked about Holmes’ demeanor during the three days Manguso tested him.
     “He described his mood as slightly depressed,” Manguso said.
     Brauchler asked if the behavior she witnessed was “consistent” with this statement.
     “The withdrawn nature of his interpersonal interactions, I didn’t know exactly what that was due to,” Manguso said.
     King followed up Brauchler’s line of questioning by asking if the test results reflected that Holmes was intelligent.
     “Yes, a very intelligent person,” Manguso said. She said an IQ test administered by another defense psychologist, Dr. Robert Hanlon, set his IQ at 123. A normal IQ is 100.
     Manguso said Holmes’ score showed his intellectual abilities were in a “superior” category.
     King asked: “Even though someone’s intellect can be intact, if they’re psychotic, their functional thinking [can still] be distorted?”
     Manguso agreed: “Even intelligent people can become mentally ill.”
     She said she believed that Holmes “was not malingering,” or faking, his symptoms.
     Aurora police Det. Gordon Madonna testified about Holmes’ Internet searches in the months before the shooting.
     He listed several subjects that Holmes researched, including mental illness, specifically “dysphoric mania,” target shooting, window tint fines, the Century Aurora 16 theater where the shooting took place, and items Holmes used to make homemade bombs to booby-trap his apartment, such as gasoline, potassium permanganate, fireworks, and launch control transmitters.
     Holmes also reviewed Wikipedia articles on weapons and military tactics.
     The day concluded with Arapahoe County Judge Carlos Samour Jr. agreeing to show the jury the defense’s two-hour video showing Holmes’ “odd” behavior in a rubber room after the shooting. The jury was to finish watching the video Thursday morning, then the defense will continue presenting its case.

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