Colorado cinema gunman's writings show murder plans, musings

Reuters News
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Posted: May 27, 2015 6:51 PM

By Keith Coffman

CENTENNIAL, Colo., (Reuters) - A journal that Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes wrote before he opened fire inside a packed theater contains his plans to commit a mass killing, interspersed with personal musings and philosophical questions, a document showed on Wednesday.

The writings were introduced by prosecutors in the murder trial of the 27-year-old California native and former neuroscience graduate student who is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to fatally shooting 12 moviegoers and wounding 70 more in a suburban Denver theater during a screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Holmes, who could face the death penalty over the July 2012 rampage, mailed a spiral notebook containing the writings to his psychiatrist a day before he launched his attack on the theater.

In it, he wrote of his social isolation, his inability to initiate conversations with others, his insomnia, and that he could not concentrate for more than 15 minutes at a time.

He wrote that he had become obsessed with killing 10 years earlier, and that his soul would have to be “eviscerated” to cure what he called his “broken mind.” Other pages are replete with rhetorical questions, and eight have the question “Why?” written over and over.

“What kind of GOD commands his people not to murder yet cowers behind free will?” another entry asked.

Holmes also drew diagrams of the multiplex where he launched his attack, showing how he scouted the complex and listed the pros and cons of which theater to attack.

He also wrote of acquiring firearms and the ingredients he used to assemble bombs he rigged in his apartment, which he hoped would divert emergency responders while he shot up the cinema.

Under one heading, titled, “Insights into the Mind of Madness,” Holmes drew stick figures alongside a quote that said, “All men are uncreated equal.”

Both prosecutors and defense lawyers have cited Holmes’ writings to bolster their cases, and Colorado criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Wil Smith said the document cuts both ways.

“There are parts in there that the prosecution can say shows deliberation, but also portions where the defense can argue show he’s insane,” Smith said. “In the end, it may be a wash.”

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)