Aurora Shooting Suspect Requests a Plea of Insanity


By Gabriel Cohen

James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, during an arraignment hearing.
James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, during an arraignment hearing.

In July 2012, James Holmes took part in a Colorado movie theater shooting during the midnight premiere of “Dark Knight Rises”. James Holmes walked into the movie theater and opened fire at the people watching the latest Batman movie. Before committing his crime, he yelled out, “I am the Joker!”.  Recently, James Holmes officially entered his plea of insanity. Judge Carlos, who has been in charge of this case, has been reluctant to allow for the insanity plea, but is allowing for the defendant to make his case about why he should be allowed to plea insane. Although the decision hasn’t been made, the judge has until May 31 to make his decision. In order to have the insanity plea work, Holmes has to cooperate with doctors in an extensive mental evaluation.

Prosecutors are pressing for the death penalty, saying Holmes is not insane. Much evidence points to his crime being pre-meditated: walking into the theater with full body armor, booby trapping his apartments before heading to the theater, accumulating ammunition, and scouting the movie theatre before the shooting. The prosecutors are trying to show that he had clearly planned the act, and that he is not insane. The defendants are trying to push for the insanity plea because Holmes had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting; planning an act does not necessarily mean he doesn’t suffer from some sort of psychosis.  But, defendants don’t want to push for the plea yet because, if found guilty, they know it can also be the cause for his receiving the death penalty. If Holmes is acquitted for his actions, he will spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.