According to his lawyers, James HolmesÂ—The Dark Knight ShooterÂ—is mentally ill. Is he or is the claim just a clever way of trying to get the mass murderer off the hook?
It would certainly seem that anyone who would walk into a movie theater and start killing people at random is a bit insane. Add to that the fact he died his hair orange and called himself the Joker and it becomes easy to make a case for insanity.
According to his lawyers, who made the formal claim in court on Thursday, Holmes attempted to get mental help in the past. Exactly what precipitated those actions remains unclear. But one should remember his mother wasn't surprised when the police called her to tell of her son's crime. She reportedly uttered words to the effect of "you've got the right man."
That would seem to show, she knew her son had problems, mental or otherwise. If so, perhaps she's the one who encouraged him to seek mental help. Whether that was merely through the school he attended isn't being discussed but it's known that he did do that. Any contact with other psychologists or psychiatrists will likely be saved for the trial.
The fact is mental illness is the only logical defense for James Holmes at this point. It's impossible to explain away his actions any other way. He killed 12 people and wounded another 58. By all accounts the act was well thought out and meticulously planned.
That does beg the question: Can someone who is supposedly mentally ill carry out all that with such ease? Only the experts know and chances are the jury will hear from a bevy of them during the trial. Whether Holmes is feigning insanity or actually insane may never be known. Final decisions about that may happen based on which side makes the best case. That makes it one trial a lot of people wouldn't be able to handle. Jury duty anyone?