Mass Murderer Wasn’t|Crazy, Prosecutor Says

DENVER (CN) – Accused mass murderer James Holmes’ attorneys sparred with prosecutors as their defense began, focusing on just how crazy Holmes was when he killed 12 people and wounded dozens at a Batman movie.
     Dr. Jonathan Woodcock, a psychiatrist who interviewed Holmes four days after the July 12, 2012 massacre at the Cinemark 16 movie theater in Aurora, testified that he believes Holmes was too delusional at the time to be held responsible.
     But in heated cross-examination Friday, District Attorney George Brauchler cited Holmes’ extensive preparation for the attack: buying large amounts of ammunition, designing and creating a bullet-proof suit, and booby-trapping his apartment to try to hurt police. Clearly, Brauchler said, these actions carried out over days showed that Holmes understood there would be ramifications for his actions.
     Woodcock replied that that those behaviors have little to no relation to how delusional Holmes was.
     “He demonstrated a great deal of organized behavior,” Woodcock agreed. “But [it] was driven by … idiosyncratic, delusional thoughts.
     “I can’t say on July 12th that he knew what he was doing. He talks about the floodgates opening – he was going with the flow.”
     Brauchler then delved into discrepancies from Holmes’s interviews with other psychiatrists.
     Woodcock suggested that the discrepancies did not undermine his analysis that Holmes was psychotic: they pointed even more clearly to psychotic delusions.
     “It’s not surprising to me at all,” Woodcock replied when Brauchler asked whether he was surprised that Holmes’ answers to questions, such as why he dyed his hair bright orange, changed from therapist to therapist.
     “That’s the problem with reconstructing someone’s psychotic mind,” Woodcock said. “We all have to try to understand – [Holmes is] not going to be the best guide to that. Even his information has to be taken with interpretation to what the context is.”
     Brauchler insisted that Holmes’ planning showed he was aware that he was doing something illegal, that he was too clear-headed to be as mentally ill as an insanity defense requires. He pointed out that in one interview Holmes admitted he knew “it would be hard to drive in ballistic pants.”
     “He had roadstars,” Brauchler added, and he waited “to commit the crime under the cover of darkness.” Roadstars are sharp objects thrown on a highway to flatten the tires of pursuing vehicles.
     But Woodcock stuck to his diagnosis.
     “It’s consistent with his delusional state,” Woodcock said. “None of it makes sense.”
     Dan King, one of Holmes’ public defenders, asked to what Holmes’ erratic, sometimes contradictory answers could be attributed.
     “The delusional psychosis,” Woodcock replied, “and ambivalence – that he feels more than one way.”
     King said that Holmes’ I.Q. tests – which originally yielded a score of 127 – sank to 113 within a year. “Is testing that consistent with schizophrenia?” King asked.
     “Yes,” Woodcock replied, informing the court that schizophrenia is, colloquially, called “dementia of the young.”
     Dr. Kimberly Indovina, of the Denver Health center to which Holmes was admitted when he became ill after the shooting, testified at the end of the day. She said Holmes had low levels of potassium, which suggested he had not been eating a lot, if at all, and that she prescribed a sedative for anxiety.
     The defense will continue presenting its case this week.
     Brauchler’s 18th Judicial District includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.
     Judge Carlos Samour Jr., of Arapahoe County chief judge, is presiding over the trial.

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