Reply Wed 1 Aug, 2012 02:30 am
firefly wrote:
I thought you had me ignore. Laughing

Why would you think that?

firefly wrote:
Why don't you put me back on ignore. I really don't want to waste my time responding to you.

In other words, you were making up your claims without having the slightest idea what you were talking about. And now you are trying to bluff your way out of backing up what you said.
Reply Wed 1 Aug, 2012 01:59 pm
In other words, you were making up your claims without having the slightest idea what you were talking about.

Stop being such a fool. These aren't "my claims".

Try reading the criminal complaint, and the list of charges against Holmes. It speaks for itself.

And they have every intention of trying to convict him on all of those 142 charges.

Discussing the topic with you is simply a waste of my time. Because you raise dumb questions, or make dumb assertions, doesn't mean anyone is obligated to respond to you.

Reply Wed 1 Aug, 2012 05:14 pm
firefly wrote:
In other words, you were making up your claims without having the slightest idea what you were talking about.

Stop being such a fool. These aren't "my claims".

Yes they are. You posted a claim that a jury will be able to convict on both forms of murder for the same killing.

firefly wrote:
Try reading the criminal complaint, and the list of charges against Holmes. It speaks for itself.

I didn't see anything in there that confirmed your bogus claim.

firefly wrote:
Discussing the topic with you is simply a waste of my time.

In other words, you are unable to back up your bogus claims.

firefly wrote:
Because you raise dumb questions

Hardly dumb to ask you to back up your bogus claims.

firefly wrote:
or make dumb assertions,

Unlike you, every one of my assertions is actually the truth, and is also pertinent to the topic at hand.

Nothing at all dumb about me raising pertinent facts to help clarify a discussion.

firefly wrote:
doesn't mean anyone is obligated to respond to you.

It is true that you are free to run away every time you get called on your bogus claims.

But that just serves to make your future claims even less credible.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 1 Aug, 2012 07:07 pm
The New York Times
August 1, 2012
Tough Legal Issues Converge in Colorado Shooting Case

The prosecution of James E. Holmes for the slaughter in a Colorado movie theater last month differs from most criminal proceedings because there is so little doubt that he is the perpetrator. But that will not make it easier.

Participants in the case, likely to be a drawn-out one, will wrestle with some of the most contested concepts in American law — sanity, an impartial jury and the political pressures for punishment in a deeply wounded community.

On Monday, Mr. Holmes sat glassy-eyed in a packed courtroom as the charges against him were made public — 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder, two each for the 12 people killed and the 58 wounded on July 20 at the suburban cinema in Aurora where he was arrested in a commando-style outfit holding three weapons.

That moment in court, while preliminary, was telling. Mr. Holmes gazed at the ceiling lights, suggesting a mental state that his publicly appointed lawyers will focus on: Does he understand what is going on? Can he assist in his defense? Is Mr. Holmes competent to stand trial?

“I wonder if he can have a rational conversation, whether he can string words together into a sentence,” said Elizabeth Kelley, a criminal defense lawyer in Cleveland.

Psychiatrists will pose to Mr. Holmes a series of scripted questions aimed at providing a rating of his mental competence, said Paul S. Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry, medicine and law at Columbia University. Something similar occurred last year with Jared L. Loughner, charged with the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others. Mr. Loughner was deemed mentally incompetent more than a year ago and remains in a psychiatric facility with the goal of getting him declared competent for trial. It remains unclear whether that will happen.

“The vast majority of defendants found incompetent are in fact restored to competence,” Dr. Appelbaum said. Medications can induce the change, although some mental health professionals are uncomfortable with coaxing someone to competence for a trial that could lead to the defendant’s execution.

An additional concern is what information should be withheld from the prosecution and public to ensure a fair trial. When word emerged that Mr. Holmes, who had been a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver, had sent a package to a university psychiatrist who had been treating him, his lawyers accused the state of leaking the information and imperiling his right to an impartial jury. Such communication may be protected by patient-doctor privilege and violate the judge’s order sealing documents related to this case.

That order has also come under scrutiny. A group of news organizations, including The New York Times, filed a motion asking for access to the case documents. It says the seal “violates the public’s constitutional right of access to the records of criminal prosecutions, and undermines our nation’s firm commitment to the transparency and public accountability of the criminal justice system.”

If Mr. Holmes does stand trial, his lawyers are likely to argue that he should be declared not guilty by reason of insanity because he did not know the difference between right and wrong when he entered the Aurora movie theater.

Such a defense exists in nearly every state, although it has rarely been successful. Colorado is one of the few where the burden of proof falls more on the state than on the defense. The insanity defense has been much harder to prove since John W. Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and was found not guilty on that basis. Most states and the federal government toughened their insanity defense standards after a public outcry.

To fend off that defense, prosecutors will point to Mr. Holmes’s elaborate preparations — his booby-trapped apartment, his purchase of weapons and ammunition, and his wearing of a ballistic helmet and vest — as evidence of planning, which they will say are signs of sanity.

Meanwhile, there will be intense community pressure on the judge, the district attorney, defense lawyers and psychiatrists not to have Mr. Holmes declared incompetent or insane.

“When this kind of crime occurs in a community, there is a strong desire for vengeance, and many believe death is the only legitimate verdict,” said Lisa Wayne of Denver, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

If the prosecutor seeks the death penalty, as expected, jury selection will be especially long and complex because of the gravity of the process.

Dr. Appelbaum, of Columbia, said the jury would measure the atrociousness of Mr. Holmes’ crime against the degree of his impairment and decide whether it is fair to punish him. “There is a point where the crime is so heinous that impairment will not move many jurors,” he said.

Jeffrey S. Weiner, a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, agreed and said what many of his colleagues believe: “The likelihood that he won’t be sentenced to death is slim.”
0 Replies
Reply Wed 1 Aug, 2012 07:40 pm
There apparently were red flags with Holmes beforehand.
CU Psychiatrist Called Threat-Team Members About Holmes

Sources Tell CALL7 Investigators Dr. Lynne Fenton Had Concerns About Holmes' Behavior Six Weeks Before Shootings
Arthur Kane and John Ferrugia ,
CALL7 Investigators
August 1, 2012

DENVER -- The psychiatrist treating accused Aurora theater gunman James Holmes was so concerned about his behavior that she notified other members of the University of Colorado Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment, or BETA, team that he could potentially be a danger to others, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CALL7 Investigators.
Those concerns surfaced in early June -- almost six weeks before the shooting, sources told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia.

Sources say Dr. Lynne Fenton, who treated Holmes this spring, contacted several members of the BETA team in separate conversations. According to the university website, the BETA team consists of "key" staff members from various CU departments who have specific expertise in dealing with assessing potential threats on campus. And, sources say, officials at the University of Colorado never contacted Aurora police with Fenton’s concerns before the July 20 killings.

ABC News learned Fenton was a key member in setting up BETA in 2010, and she is currently one of the contacts for anyone who has concerns about an on-campus threat. A University of Colorado spokeswoman acknowledged that Fenton is one of several trained CU contacts who can convene the team in consultation with the chairman.

“Fenton made initial phone calls about engaging the BETA team” in “the first 10 days” of June but it “never came together” because in the period Fenton was having conversations with team members, James Holmes began the process of dropping out of school, a source said.

In a news conference last week, CU Anschutz Medical Campus Graduate School Dean Barry Shur said Holmes dropped out of the CU Ph.D Neuroscience program on June 10th. "My understanding he has not been back on campus where the program is since that time," he said last week.
Holmes lost his access to secure areas of the school June 12, according to the CU spokeswoman.

Sources said when Holmes withdrew, the BETA team “had no control over him."

Holmes has been charged with the murders of 12 people and shooting of 58 others July 20 in an Aurora movie theater during the premier of the new Batman movie.

Sources did not know what Holmes told Fenton that sparked her concern.

“It takes more than just statements,” said one source, explaining that Holmes would have had to tell Fenton “something specific" before she would have to report it to law enforcement.
“He would have to tell her he had taken steps to make it happen,” said another source.

But an expert in threat assessment told ABC News that the warning signs were there, and CU should likely have done more when Holmes quit the university.
"I think that is the signal that you should intensify your efforts -- not walk away," said Barry Spodak." Under those circumstances, most well-trained assessment teams would have gone into action."

One source also told Ferrugia that the team may not have been convened because while Fenton had “serious concerns, there may not have been an immediate threat.”

Sources familiar with the investigation do not know if Fenton stopped treating Holmes after he dropped out of CU. It’s also not known whether Fenton referred Holmes to any other mental health assistance, or if there was further contact with him or about him.

Sources also say, after the shootings, Aurora police interviewed at least one person that Fenton contacted to discuss her concerns about Holmes.

During the period when, sources say, Fenton contacted fellow BETA team members, Holmes did not do well on an oral presentation on June 7. It also unclear whether Holmes could find a mentor to help him as required for continuing in the Ph.D program. On the same day, June 7, Holmes legally purchased an AR-15 rifle, according to ABC News.

James Holmes had no criminal record.

CU Chancellor Don Elliman said at a news conference the school did everything properly. “To the best of our knowledge at this point we did everything that we think we should have done,” he said last week.
Michael Carrigan, chairman of the CU board of regents, told CALL7 Investigators that he did not know if Holmes had ever been discussed by the BETA team.
"It's the first I'm hearing about this," he said in a phone interview.

A CU spokeswoman declined comment on Fenton or any BETA team actions, citing a gag order.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 16 Aug, 2012 11:31 am
Holmes, 24, is a former Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado. Sources told ABC News that Dr. Lynne Fenton made contact with a university police officer in early June, during the time she grew concerned about his behavior. ABC affiliate KMGH-TV previously reported Fenton reached out other members of the school's threat assessment team to express concerns with Holmes. But it appears the university never acted on those concerns...

The university has repeatedly declined to comment on who Fenton reached out to, citing a gag order issued by a court. However, university spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery confirmed to ABC News that the university has retained independent legal counsel to represent both Fenton and a university police officer.

Fenton would have had to have serious concerns to break confidentiality and reach out to the officer or others, sources said. Under Colorado law, a psychiatrist can legally breach a pledge of confidentiality with a patient if he or she becomes aware of a serious and imminent threat that their patient might cause harm to others. Psychiatrists can also breach confidentiality if a court has ordered them to do so.

Fenton was not just the suspect's psychiatrist. ABC News first discovered she was also one of the key authors of the university's policy on threat assessment.

On June 10, Holmes announced he intended to quit the prestigious Ph.D. program at the university. The university confirmed he was still enrolled when the shooting occurred a month and a half later. ABC affiliate KMGH-TV previously reported the university's threat assessment team never met to discuss Holmes and chose not to intervene while his paperwork for withdrawal was in motion.

"Under those circumstances, most well-trained threat assessment teams would have gone into action," said Barry Spodak, a threat assessment expert. "It's hard to imagine why they wouldn't go into action when they have received those kinds of reports."

Gerry Shargel, a renowned criminal defense attorney based in New York, said the University of Colorado could find itself in legal trouble for missing warning signs.

"Simply reporting it and wringing the hands and saying, 'Well there's nothing we can do about it because he is not longer a problem for the University of Colorado,' I think, will fall short when you look at the responsibility," he said.
Reply Sun 26 Aug, 2012 05:47 pm
The prosecution is continuing to present evidence of premediation, which will likely be how they will counter an insanity defense. Now it seems that Holmes spoke about wanting to kill people as far back as last March.

Accused Colorado gunman told classmate he wanted to kill people
August 24, 2012
Mary Slosson | Reuters

(Reuters) - Accused Colorado gunman James Holmes had conversations with a classmate in March about wanting to kill people, four months before the suburban Denver rampage in which he is accused of shooting dead 12 moviegoers, a court document showed on Friday.

"Evidence gathered so far indicates ... the defendant had conversations with a classmate about wanting to kill people in March 2012, and that he would do so when his life was over," prosecutors wrote in the filing.

0 Replies
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 12:36 pm
Holmes had applied to, and was rejected by, another neuroscience grad program in 2011--for reasons apparently related to his personality.
U. of Iowa Rejected Colorado Shooting Suspect
By RYAN J. FOLEY Associated Press
August 29, 2012

The University of Iowa rejected the suspect in the Colorado movie theater shooting rampage from a graduate neuroscience program last year because he was not considered "a good personal fit," a spokesman said Thursday.

James Holmes applied to the Iowa program in late 2010 and was given an interview on Jan. 28, 2011, according to records released by the university. Neuroscience program director Daniel Tranel wrote a strongly worded email two days later urging the admissions committee not to accept Holmes to the school.

"James Holmes: Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances," wrote Tranel, a professor of neurology.

Psychology professor Mark Blumberg followed up with a separate email two days later to say he agreed with Tranel about Holmes, one of three students Blumberg interviewed. "Don't admit," he wrote about Holmes. He recommended admission for the other two.

Neither official elaborated on their reasoning in the emails, which are among 12 pages of records the university released about Holmes in response to public records requests filed by The Associated Press and other news outlets.

None of the documents further explain why Holmes' application was denied. University spokesman Tom Moore said Thursday that Holmes was academically qualified but officials did not see him as "a good personal fit for our program." He declined to elaborate.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 12:42 pm
Fenton reached out other members of the school's threat assessment team to express concerns with Holmes. But it appears the university never acted on those concerns...

seems like another beautiful example of universities thinking they're above the law
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 01:03 pm
ehBeth wrote:

Fenton reached out other members of the school's threat assessment team to express concerns with Holmes. But it appears the university never acted on those concerns...

seems like another beautiful example of universities thinking they're above the law

I rarely defend universities but in this case it must be done...the law on what can universities can reveal to law enforcement about those who are mentally challenged is complex and often unclear, and we don't know that the university had concerns about this guy until after he was no longer part of the university, further complicating matters.
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 01:04 pm
You can accept that.

I don't.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 31 Aug, 2012 02:46 pm
we don't know that the university had concerns about this guy until after he was no longer part of the university, further complicating matters.

The university definitely had concerns about him--they consulted their own threat assessment team regarding him, and the treating psychiatrist also consulted with a campus police officer after her last treatment session with Holmes, although she did not reveal his identity to the officer.

In this particular case, because Holmes was in treatment with a university psychiatrist, the responsibility for action was more squarely on that physician to take some action, if, in her clinical judgment, he represented an imminent threat to anyone. In fact, she was personally legally obligated to take such action if she felt he presented a danger to anyone--and the law is clear about that. She could have had him hospitalized, and/or she could have notified the police--but she did neither. Either she didn't feel he was an imminent danger, at least while he was in her care, or her clinical judgment was faulty, but, because she is a university employee, the university can be potentially liable for the decisions she made, and she could additionally be held individually accountable in terms of a civil action. But, right now, we don't know how long she treated Holmes, or what he revealed to her, and what served to trigger her concerns about him.

This is a lengthy article, but it nicely sums up all of the red flags that were appearing months before the shooting. He appears to have been psychologically decompensating gradually over a period of months, and his possible use of LSD or hallucinogenic drugs may have played a role in that.
He did not suddenly "snap" in response to not doing well on his orals, as you theorized. For one thing, he had been acquiring his weapons before those orals, and, if he did poorly on the orals, it was more likely due to the progression of his mental illness, rather than his orals performance being the cause of the problems/stress/anger that led to the shooting.
The New York Times
August 26, 2012
Before Gunfire, Hints of ‘Bad News’

AURORA, Colo. — The text message, sent to another graduate student in early July, was cryptic and worrisome. Had she heard of “dysphoric mania,” James Eagan Holmes wanted to know?

The psychiatric condition, a form of bipolar disorder, combines the frenetic energy of mania with the agitation, dark thoughts and in some cases paranoid delusions of major depression.

She messaged back, asking him if dysphoric mania could be managed with treatment. Mr. Holmes replied: “It was,” but added that she should stay away from him “because I am bad news.”

It was the last she heard from him.

About two weeks later, minutes into a special midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20, Mr. Holmes, encased in armor, his hair tinted orange, a gas mask obscuring his face, stepped through the emergency exit of a sold-out movie theater here and opened fire. By the time it was over, there were 12 dead and 58 wounded.

The ferocity of the attack, its setting, its sheer magnitude — more people were killed and injured in the shooting than in any in the country’s history — shocked even a nation largely inured to random outbursts of violence.

But Mr. Holmes, 24, who was arrested outside the theater and has been charged in the shootings, has remained an enigma, his life and his motives cloaked by two court orders that have imposed a virtual blackout on information in the case and by the silence of the University of Colorado, Denver, where Mr. Holmes was until June a graduate student in neuroscience.

Unlike Wade M. Page, who soon after the theater shooting opened fire at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six people, Mr. Holmes left no trail of hate and destruction behind him, no telling imprints in the electronic world, not even a Facebook page.

Yet as time has passed, a clearer picture has begun to surface. Interviews with more than a dozen people who knew or had contact with Mr. Holmes in the months before the attack paint a disturbing portrait of a young man struggling with a severe mental illness who more than once hinted to others that he was losing his footing.

Those who worked side by side with him saw an amiable if intensely shy student with a quick smile and a laconic air, whose quirky sense of humor surfaced in goofy jokes — “Take that to the bank,” he said while giving a presentation about an enzyme known as A.T.M. — and wry one-liners. There was no question that he was intelligent. “James is really smart,” one graduate student whispered to another after a first-semester class. Yet he floated apart, locked inside a private world they could neither share nor penetrate.

He confided little about his outside life to classmates, but told a stranger at a nightclub in Los Angeles last year that he enjoyed taking LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. He had trouble making eye contact, but could make surprising forays into extroversion, mugging for the camera in a high school video. A former classmate, Sumit Shah, remembers an instance when Mr. Holmes performed Irish folk tunes on the piano — until others took notice of his playing, when he stopped. So uncommunicative that at times he seemed almost mute, he piped up enthusiastically in a hospital cafeteria line when a nearby conversation turned to professional football.

Like many of his generation, he was a devotee of role-playing video games like Diablo III and World of Warcraft — in 2009, he bought Neverwinter Nights II, a game like Dungeons & Dragons, on eBay, using the handle “sherlockbond” (“shipped with alacrity, great seller,” he wrote in his feedback on the sale). Rumored to have had a girlfriend, at least for a time, he appeared lonely enough in the weeks before the shooting to post a personal advertisement seeking companionship on an adult Web site.

Sometime in the spring, he stopped smiling and no longer made jokes during class presentations, his behavior shifting, though the meaning of the changes remained unclear. Packages began arriving at his apartment and at the school, containing thousands of rounds of ammunition bought online, the police say.

Prosecutors said in court filings released last week that Mr. Holmes told a fellow student in March that he wanted to kill people “when his life was over.”

In May, he showed another student a Glock semiautomatic pistol, saying he had bought it “for protection.” At one point, his psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, grew concerned enough that she alerted at least one member of the university’s threat assessment team that he might be dangerous, an official with knowledge of the investigation said, and asked the campus police to find out if he had a criminal record. He did not. But the official said that nothing Mr. Holmes disclosed to Dr. Fenton rose to the threshold set by Colorado law to hospitalize someone involuntarily.

Yet Mr. Holmes was descending into a realm of darkness. In early June, he did poorly on his oral exams. Professors told him that he should find another career, prosecutors said at a hearing last week. Soon after, he left campus.

That Mr. Holmes, who is being held in the Arapahoe County jail awaiting arraignment on 142 criminal counts, deteriorated to the point of deadly violence cannot help but raise questions about the adequacy of the treatment he received and about the steps the university took or failed to take in dealing with a deeply troubled student. In court hearings and documents, Mr. Holmes’s lawyers have confirmed that he has a mental disorder and that he was in treatment with Dr. Fenton. They will undoubtedly use any evidence that he was mentally ill in mounting a defense. Colorado is one of only a few states where, in an insanity defense, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution.

J. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist and expert on mass killers, has noted that almost without exception, their crimes represent the endpoint of a long and troubled highway that in hindsight was dotted with signs missed or misinterpreted. “These individuals do not snap,” he said, “whatever that means.”

But who could divine the capacity to shoot dozens of people in cold blood? Or the diabolical imagination necessary to devise the booby traps the police said Mr. Holmes carefully set out in his apartment the night of the rampage, devices that could have killed more?

Cool and Detached

A potential for violence was the last thing that came to mind when a graduate student at the university met Mr. Holmes at a recruitment weekend for the neuroscience program in February last year.

“What struck me was that he was kind of nonchalant,” the woman recalled. “He just seemed too cool to be there. He kicked back in his chair and seemed very relaxed in a very stressful situation.”

But his reticence was also apparent, she said.

“I noticed that he was not engaged with people around him. We went around the table to introduce ourselves, and he made a weird, awkward joke,” said the student who, like many of those interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing reasons that included not wanting their privacy invaded by other news organizations and hearing from law enforcement or university officials that talking publicly could compromise the investigation. The university, invoking the investigation and the court orders, has refused to release even mundane details about Mr. Holmes, like which professors he worked with.

As the fall term began last year and students plunged into their required coursework, that pairing of laconic ease with an almost crippling social discomfort would become a theme that many students later remembered.

The neuroscience program, which admits six or seven students each year out of 60 or more applicants, sits under the umbrella of the Center for Neuroscience, an interdisciplinary and multicampus enterprise started a little over year ago to bring together basic science and clinical research. More than 150 scientists are affiliated with the center, 60 of them formally involved with the graduate program.

The mix of laboratory scientists and clinicians is “absolutely fundamental” to the center’s goals, said Diego Restrepo, its director. Dr. Restrepo and two other administrators met with The New York Times under the ground rule that no specific questions about Mr. Holmes or the case be asked.

The research interests of the neuroscience faculty are wide-ranging and include the effects of aging on the sense of smell, the repair of spinal cord injuries, promising drugs for Down syndrome, treatments for stroke, and studies of diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and autism. The center is particularly known for its research on the neurobiology of sensory perception.

In the first year of the program, each neuroscience graduate student takes required courses and completes three 12-week laboratory rotations, said Angie Ribera, the program’s director.

“Students might come in with a strong interest in one area, but we feel strongly that they should get broad training,” she said. “It’s an incredibly supportive group of students. There is a bonding there.”

Other students said Mr. Holmes did his rotations in the laboratories of Achim Klug, who studies the auditory system; Mark Dell’Acqua, who does basic research on synaptic signaling; and Dr. Curt Freed, whose work focuses on messenger chemicals in the brain and stem cell transplants in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

But even in a world where students can spend hours in solitary research, Mr. Holmes seemed especially alone.

He volunteered little information about himself, his interests or what he dreamed of doing with his degree, said one graduate student who, touched by Mr. Holmes’s shyness, tried repeatedly to draw him out. Attempts to engage him in small talk were met with an easy smile and a polite reply — if only a soft-spoken “yo” — but little more.

“He would basically communicate with me in one-word sentences,” one member of the neuroscience program said. “He always seemed to be off in his own world, which did not involve other people, as far as I could tell.”

In classes, Mr. Holmes arrived early to grab a good seat, his lanky 5-foot-11 frame in jeans and sometimes a “Star Wars” T-shirt. He hardly ever took notes, often staring into the distance as if daydreaming. Uncomfortable when called on by professors, he almost always began his responses with a weary-sounding “Uhhhhhhh.”

But there was little doubt about his intellect. In a grant-writing class, where students were required to grade each other’s proposals, Mr. Holmes wrote thoughtful and detailed comments, one student recalled, giving each paper he was assigned to review a generous grade.

“This was the only time I saw an assignment of James’s,” the student said. “Frankly, I was very impressed. I thought his comments were much better than anyone else’s.”

In the spring, just months before the shooting, Mr. Holmes turned in a midterm essay that a professor said was “spectacular,” written almost at the level of a professional in the field.

The essay was “beautifully written,” the professor said, and “more than I would have expected from a first-year student.”

In the talks Mr. Holmes gave after his first laboratory rotations, he often resorted to jokes, perhaps in an effort to cover his unease. During one presentation, he stood with one hand in his pocket, a laser pointer in his other hand. With a slight smile, he aimed the pointer at a slide and crowed “Oooooooh!”

“Oh my God, James is so awkward,” a student recalled a classmate whispering.

Yet in a video of scenes from Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms,” made when he was a student at Westview High School in San Diego, where he was on the cross-country team and was a standout soccer defender, Mr. Holmes proved a deft comedian with a talent for improvisation, his former classmate Jared Bird remembered.

“He kept making funny faces at the camera and making unexpected comments,” Mr. Bird said. “He was being a goofy bartender. We expected him to play it straight, but he made it more interesting, much more comical. He ad-libbed everything.”

By the end of high school, Mr. Holmes was already pursuing his interest in science, attending a summer internship in 2006 at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, before going to college at the University of California, Riverside. But if he was beginning the process of finding a career, he was also forging a reputation for extreme shyness.

“I frequently had to ask yes-or-no questions to get responses from him,” said John Jacobson, his adviser that summer, adding that he completed virtually none of the work he was assigned, which involved putting visual illusions developed in the laboratory on the Internet. “Communicating with James was difficult.”

Mr. Holmes was more voluble in e-mails. When he discovered that Mr. Jacobson spoke Mandarin, he began one e-mail to him with a greeting in that language: “Ni hao John.”

But he stayed apart from the other interns, often eating alone at his desk and not showing up for the regular afternoon teas. He was the only intern not to keep in touch with the coordinator when the program ended.

“At the end of the day, he would slink upstairs and leave,” Mr. Jacobson said.

A Notable Presence

A smile and the air of one who walked a solitary path — they were enough to attract the attention of shopkeepers in the gritty neighborhood just west of the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, where students could find cheap, if amenity-free, housing.

On many days, Mr. Holmes could be seen cruising home slowly down 17th Avenue on his BMX bicycle toward the red-brick apartment building where he lived on the third floor, his body arched casually, his gangling frame almost too big for the small bike, a Subway sandwich bag dangling from the handlebars.

Waiters and sales clerks recognized him. He washed his clothes at a nearby laundry, took his car for servicing at the Grease Monkey, bought sunglasses at the Mex Mall and stopped in at a pawnshop on East Colfax Avenue, perusing the electronics and other goods for sale.

He favored a Mexican food truck in the mornings, buying three chicken and beef tacos but refusing sauce, and at night he sometimes dropped by Shepes’s Rincon, a Latin club near his apartment, where he sat at the bar and drank three or four beers, a security guard there said. But he spoke no Spanish, and other than placing his order talked to no one.

On several occasions, he was spotted in the company of two other students, one male, one female. Did he date? No one seemed sure. Mostly, he was alone.

“You kind of got that feeling that he was a loner,” said Vivian Andreu, who works at a local liquor store.

“Sometimes,” she said, “I would get a smile out of him.”

Months of Planning

He had apparently planned the attack for months, stockpiling 6,000 rounds of ammunition he purchased online, buying firearms — a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle in addition to two Glock handguns — and body armor, and lacing his apartment with deadly booby traps, the authorities have said.

But Mr. Holmes’s neighbors did not seem to notice — Narender Dudee, who lived in an apartment next to his, did not even hear the loud techno music that blared from his rooms on the night of the shooting.

“I must have been in a deep sleep,” Mr. Dudee said.

Studies suggest that a majority of mass killers are in the grip of some type of psychosis at the time of their crimes, said Dr. Meloy, the forensic psychologist, and they often harbor delusions that they are fighting off an enemy who is out to get them.

Yet despite their severe illness, they are frequently capable of elaborate and meticulous planning, he said.

As the graduate students reached the end of their second semester, wrapping up coursework, finishing lab rotations and looking toward the oral exam that would cap their first year, some noticed a change in Mr. Holmes. If possible, he seemed more isolated, more alone.

His smile and silly jokes were gone. The companions he had sometimes been seen with earlier in the year had disappeared.

On May 17, he gave his final laboratory presentation on dopamine precursors. The talks typically ran 15 minutes or so, but this time, Mr. Holmes spoke for only half that time. And while in earlier presentations he had made an attempt to entertain, this time he spoke flatly, as if he wanted only to be done with it.

A student with whom Mr. Holmes had flirted clumsily — he once sent her a text message after a class asking “Why are you distracting me with those shorts?” — said that two messages she received from him, one in June and the other in July, were particularly puzzling.

Their electronic exchanges had begun abruptly in February or March, when she was out with stomach flu.

“You still sick, girl?” she remembers Mr. Holmes asking.

“Who is this?” she shot back.

“Jimmy James from neuroscience,” he replied.

After that, she said, he sent her messages sporadically — once he asked her if she would like to go hiking — though he would sometimes walk right past her in the hallway, making no eye contact.

As the oral exams approached, she recalled, Mr. Holmes seemed relaxed about the prospect, telling her, “I will study everything or maybe I will study nothing at all.”

The goal of the one-hour exam, said Dr. Ribera, the neuroscience program director, “is to evaluate how students integrate information from their coursework and lab rotations and to see how they communicate on their feet.” It is not, she said, “to weed out or weed in.”

As is customary in many doctoral programs, three faculty members ask the questions during the exam. If a student does poorly, the orals can be repeated.

Mr. Holmes took his oral exam on June 7. The graduate student sent him a message the next day, asking how it had gone. Not well, he replied, “and I am going to quit.”

“Are you kidding me?” she asked.

“No, I am just being James,” he said.

A few weeks later, another student recalled, Cammie Kennedy, the neuroscience program administrator, accompanied the students to Cedar Creek Pub on campus to celebrate the completion of the first year. All the students except Mr. Holmes attended.

As the group drank beers and waxed nostalgic, Ms. Kennedy suddenly grew serious.

“I want to let you guys know that James has quit the program,” a student remembered her saying. “He wrote us an e-mail. He didn’t say why. That’s all I can really say.”

Mr. Holmes informed the school that he was dropping out at the same time that members of the threat assessment team were discussing Dr. Fenton’s concerns, the official familiar with the investigation said. Prosecutors in the case have said in court documents that Mr. Holmes was barred from the campus after making unspecified threats to a professor. But university administrators have insisted that he was not barred from campus and said his key card was deactivated on June 10 as part of the standard procedure for withdrawing.

In early July, the woman who conducted the text exchange with Mr. Holmes sent him a message to ask if he had left town yet. No, he wrote back, he still had two months remaining on his lease.

Soon he asked her about dysphoric mania.

Whether the diagnosis was his own or had been made by a mental health professional is unclear. Through a lawyer, Mr. Holmes’s parents declined several requests to talk about their son’s life before the shooting or the nature of any illness of his.

Dr. Victor Reus, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, said dysphoric mania is not uncommon in patients with bipolar disorder, a vast majority of whom never turn to violence.

But in severe cases, he said, patients can become highly agitated and caught up in paranoid delusions, reading meaning into trivial things, “something said on TV, something a passer-by might say, a bird flying by.” Dr. Reus declined to speculate about Mr. Holmes, whom he has never met, and he emphasized that he knew nothing about the psychiatric treatment Mr. Holmes might have received.

But he said that in some cases psychiatrists, unaware of the risks, prescribe antidepressants for patients with dysphoric mania — drugs that can make the condition worse.

Dave Aragon, the director of the low-budget movie “Suffocator of Sins,” a Batman-style story of vigilante justice and dark redemption, remembers receiving two phone calls in late May or early June from a man identifying himself as James Holmes from Denver. The caller had become enraptured with the four-minute online trailer for the movie, Mr. Aragon said — “He told me he’d watched it 100 times” — and had pressed him for more details about the film.

“He came off as articulate, nervous, on the meek side,” he said. “He was obviously interested in the body count.”

Painful Retrospect

In the days after the shooting, faculty members and graduate students, in shock, compared notes on what they knew about Mr. Holmes, what they might have missed, what they could have done. Some said they wished they had tried harder to break through his loneliness, a student recalled. Others wondered if living somewhere besides the dingy apartment on Paris Street might have mitigated his isolation.

At a meeting held at Dr. Ribera’s house, a student said, Barry Shur, the dean of the graduate school, said Mr. Holmes had been seeing a psychiatrist. When the authorities told him the identity of the shooting suspect, Dr. Shur said, his reaction was “I’ve heard his name before.”

But all that came later.

No one saw Mr. Holmes much after he left school in June.

A classmate spotted him once walking past the Subway on campus, his backpack in tow. Mr. Dudee, his neighbor, saw him in mid-July, his hair still its normal brown. Perhaps in a sign of ambivalence, he never took the forms he had filled out to the graduate dean’s office, the final step in withdrawing from the university.

He never replied to the fellow student’s last text message, asking if he wanted to talk about dysphoric mania.

At some point on Thursday, July 19, according to the police, he gathered up the bullets and shotgun shells, the gas mask, an urban assault vest, a ballistic helmet and a groin protector and moved into action at the Century 16 Theater.

He mailed a notebook to Dr. Fenton that the university said arrived on July 23, its contents still under seal by the court. And he bought a ticket for the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” as if he were just another moviegoer, looking forward to the biggest hit of the summer.

And the latest news is that Holmes called the university switchoard 9 minutes before he started shooting in the theater. Why he made that call, we don't know. The defense is trying to imply he might have been reaching out for help.
James Holmes called university 9 minutes before shooting, attorney says From Ted Rowlands and Jim Spellman, CNN
Fri August 31, 2012

(CNN) -- James Holmes called a University of Colorado switchboard nine minutes before he allegedly opened fire at a movie theater in a Denver suburb on July 20, public defender Tamara Brady said in court Thursday.

The number can be used to get in contact with faculty members during off hours, she said.

Holmes, 24, is accused of opening fire during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. He has been charged with murder and attempted murder and faces two weapons charges.

On Thursday, Holmes appeared before a packed court hearing, which included survivors of the shooting.

Dr. Lynne Fenton, his psychiatrist, testified that her contact with Holmes ended on June 11, and that she later contacted campus police because she was "so concerned" about what happened during that last meeting, though she declined to elaborate...

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