Outburst Interrupts ‘Batman’ Murderer Trial

     DENVER (CN) – “Don’t kill him!” a homeless woman screamed in court Thursday as prosecutors sought the death penalty for mass murderer James Holmes. “Mental illness is everything!” she cried as officers hustled her out of the courtroom.
     The outburst interrupted closing arguments in the sentencing phase of Holmes’ capital murder trial. Judge Carlos Samour Jr. later Thursday sentenced her to three weeks in Arapahoe County Jail for contempt of court.
     “What you did was extremely serious. It was extremely improper and it is extremely offensive to the authority and dignity of the court,” Samour told Deborah Cave as he sent her to jail. “My job is to defend the dignity of the court.”
     Cave responded: “You all are just gonna create 12 more murderers,” as she was taken away.
     District Attorney George Brauchler was wrapping up his closing argument, asking the jury to sentence Holmes to death, when Cave screamed from the back of the courtroom: “He’s wrong – mental illness is everything!” She was arrested as she climbed over several rows of seats
     “Don’t kill him! Don’t kill him! It’s not his fault!” she yelled before the doors closed behind her.
     Brauchler then finished his argument, seeking the death penalty for Holmes, who killed 12 and wounded 70 in Aurora movie theater on July 20, 2012. The jury two weeks ago convicted Holmes of 12 counts of murder and 153 other charges.
     His attorneys are trying to save his life by saying the former Colorado University student is insane, and should be sentenced to live in prison.
     The defense rested at 3:30 p.m. and the case was sent to the jury.
     “Mental illness can strike like cancer, without regard to how intelligent you are,” Holmes’ lead public defender Tamara Brady said in her final argument Thursday
     “When James Holmes was born, he had this psychotic mental illness in his blood, in his DNA. He had a paternal grandfather with a psychotic mental illness. He had a maternal grandfather with a psychotic mental illness. And he has an aunt who has suffered with schizoaffective disorder for 30 years.”
     Brady reminded the jury that Holmes was taking the antidepressant Sertraline, which she blames for exacerbating Holmes’ quick descent into insanity.
     “The Sertraline is increased once, and increased again. And shortly thereafter he begins to order guns, and ballistic gear, and road stars, and stuff that is completely and absolutely out of character for James Holmes,” Brady said. “Spending all of his money on this gear that he, prior to that time, had absolutely no interest in. That mission took over his friendships, that mission took over his education, that mission took over his life.”
     Sertraline is one of the most-prescribed antidepressants in the country. Like all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the FDA requires that it be sold with a “black box” warning that it can increase risk of suicide.
     “If you begin acting aggressive or violent, these are the possible side effects of that medication,” Brady told the jury. “He begins that medicine on March 21st, and on March 25th he’s telling (his girlfriend) for the first time of this … delusion. Within five days of starting that medication.”
     Brady reiterated that Holmes has said: “As soon as I started that medication, I lost all fear.”
     Prosecutor Brauchler, who is known for his closing arguments, rejected the idea that Holmes’ diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder should spare his life, and cited the court-hired psychiatrists’ testimonies as evidence.
     “Dr. [Jeffrey] Metzner said that delusion, that psychosis, it was selfish. There’s no other word for it,” Brauchler told the jury. “It was all about (Holmes), from start to stop.
     “What if he’d stopped murdering at six: Jesse Childress?”
     Brauchler showed a photo of Childress, who died shielding his friends with his body as Holmes shot up their row in the theater.
     In an obvious shot at the defense team, who spent the week showing the jury videos and photos from Holmes’ childhood, Brauchler said: “How many videos of dogs and surfing and the cute kid at Christmas would you see to outweigh six people ripped out of their lives in that fashion?
     “Is mental illness going to be a shield to treat him differently? Not having the same brain that we have does not protect you from the ramifications of those decisions.”
     The jury deliberated for an hour Thursday afternoon. They will continue Monday. The must sentence Holmes to death or to life in prison.

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