Notebook Provides a Look Into the Mind of Accused Mass Murderer


     DENVER (CN) – A notebook detailing accused mass murderer James Holmes’ days before the slaughter at an Aurora movie theater was entered into evidence Tuesday in the capital murder trial.
     Holmes is charged with 140 counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
     His notebook, 29 pages of which are available to the public, appears to have served as a confessional and a planning book.
     Its entries range from long, philosophical questions to concrete plans about the shooting spree at the midnight premiere of a Batman movie in the Cinemark 16 movie theatre on July 20, 2012. The notebook was mailed to Holmes’ psychiatrist, Lynn Fenton, the day before the massacre.
     In Arapahoe County Court, Aurora police Sgt. Matthew Fyles testified about the notebook, after Judge Carlos Samour Jr. ruled that Fyles could not read the whole notebook out loud.
     Arapahoe County District Attorney Karen Pearson and Holmes’ Public Defender Daniel King cross-examined Fyles on the notebook’s relevance.
     Prosecutor Pearson focused on the excerpts that illustrate the plans and data from Holmes’ outings in which he “cased” the movie theatre.
     She cited Holmes’ lists and charts – which include to-do lists involving gun range practice, and outlines of theatre exits and screens – to suggest that Holmes put too much planning into the massacre to have been as mentally ill as the defense team alleges he was.
     There are excerpts that show Holmes’ thought process in selecting the theatre, and the notebook details his initial idea of shooting into a crowd in an airport terminal. Holmes decides against this with the statements “too much of a terrorist history – terrorism isn’t the message,” and “most fools will misinterpret correlation for causation.”
     Holmes chooses the theatre on the next page, writing “Cinemark 16” at the top. He writes that the theatre is advantageous because it is “isolated, proximal, and large.” The pages detail where the best parking for the theater would be, how many theaters there are, and how soon police response time would be.
     Holmes estimated it would be three minutes.
     His concluding statement pondered, “what better place to case than that of an inconspicuous entertainment facility?”
     The defense team claimed that the pages reflect Holmes’ hysteria and schizophrenia, and the degradation of Holmes’ sanity before the shootings.
     The notebook features eight pages of Holmes’ scrawlings of “Why? Why? Why?” in increasingly larger print, chaotic drawings of living and dead stick figures, and mathematical equations that he likens to his own philosophical questions.
     “1 or 11 or -9 ? regardless, value of murder ? to the dead,” Holmes wrote. “Equal ? 1.”
     Below the drawings, he asks: “Can a person have both no value AND be ultimately good AND/OR ultimately evil? Why does the value of a person even matter?”
     Holmes, who was a neuroscience student at the Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, spent pages upon pages detailing aspects of his mental health that he attributed to “self diagnoses.” He talks about episodes of catatonia and “excessive fatigue,” his increasing need for social isolation and dislike of interactive situations, and a frequent desire to visit the mirror to look at himself, with a particular focus on his hair, teeth, and nose.
     Holmes could be sentenced to death if the prosecution persuades the jury that Holmes was not insane during the time of the shooting. Copies of the notebook were distributed to each juror on Tuesday.

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