CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — Colorado theater shooter James Holmes told a psychiatrist who treated him months after the attack that he was in jail because “I took the blood that wasn’t mine to take, and it was unfair, and I was selfish.”
Dr. Rachel Davis testified Monday that Holmes’ statement was one of many disorganized, nonsensical comments he made while hospitalized in November 2012, after running into walls and falling backward off his bunk in jail. The hospital visit was four months after Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 more during a packed midnight movie premiere.
The comments are significant as Holmes’ defense attorneys try to convince jurors he was legally insane when he carried out the massacre. Davis testified Holmes’ vague and illogical answers to her questions were a symptom of the psychosis he was suffering when she saw him at the hospital for about an hour.
But prosecutor Karen Pearson suggested it was a sign Holmes was capable of telling right from wrong, meeting Colorado’s legal definition of sanity.
Holmes’ sometimes bizarre behavior after the attack was the focus of the day’s testimony. It included a police officer who said Holmes played puppets with paper bags put on his hands to preserve gunshot residue after his arrest, and jail deputies who saw him running head-first into walls and refusing to eat or drink in 2012. Holmes was talking about shadows and repeating odd phrases.
When Davis asked Holmes why he was in jail, he said it was “because I pulled away from the people I knew, and I drank their blood.”
Davis prescribed him Haldol, an antipsychotics drug, to help with his scattered thoughts. Another doctor then switched the prescription to risperdal, another antipsychotic he continues to take.
Holmes saw almost immediate improvement on the drugs, said another doctor, John Holland.
Prosecutors have said Holmes purposefully starved himself and suggested he staged the jail episode, knowing there were cameras watching him. District Attorney George Brauchler asked another doctor whether the stress of being charged with more than 100 counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder would have caused the psychotic episode. But the doctor, Philippe Weintraub, said he did not know.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and his lawyers want him to be committed to the state mental hospital. Prosecutors argue Holmes was sane and should be convicted and sentenced to die.
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