Books & Review | Jessica Durham
Updated: Jul 24, 2012 01:48 PM EDT


 

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes makes his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. Holmes, the man accused of shooting dead 12 people in a Colorado movie theater during the midnight screening of the new Batman movie early Friday, made his first appearance in court on Monday, sitting silently in a red jailhouse jump suit and with his hair dyed bright red. (Reuters)
Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes makes his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. Holmes, the man accused of shooting dead 12 people in a Colorado movie theater during the midnight screening of the new Batman movie early Friday, made his first appearance in court on Monday, sitting silently in a red jailhouse jump suit and with his hair dyed bright red. (Reuters)

 

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The mother of the Colorado shooting suspect, James Holmes, disputed reports from ABC that she said, "You have the right person," when contacted about her son.

ABC News reported that they spoke to Arlene Holmes in California and said, ""You have the right person," she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. "I need to call the police... I need to fly out to Colorado."

The Huffington Post reported that on Monday, Arlene Holmes' attorney, Lisa Damiani, said in a statement by Holmes that the comments were taken out of context.

"I was awakened by a call from a reporter by ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time. He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself.

"I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora. He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son, and I would need to find out."

The Huffington Post reported that ABC News stood by its account of the conversation. "

It said that producer Matthew Mosk had called Arlene Holmes, and that she had only said 'you have the right person' after Mosk had informed her that her son was identified by police as the lone suspect in the Colorado massacre," Huffington Post reported.

James Holmes, 24, is accused of opening fire at a Aurora, Colorado movie theater at the midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" July 20 at around 12:30 a.m. He allegedly killed 12 people and injured 58 others, some who are in very critical condition.

Witnesses described him kicking open the back door of the Century Aurora 16 theater and opening fire with four weapons, one AK-type assault rifle, a shotgun and two handguns, according to CNN. Wearing a bulletproof vest and goggles, he stood at the front of the theater, tossed tear gas into the crowd and starting randomly shooting.

Holmes made his first appearance in court on Monday. His hair was dyed a shocking comic-book shade of orange-red. He was wearing a maroon jailhouse jumpsuit with his hands cuffed. The Associated Press described him as, "Unshaven and appearing dazed, Holmes sat virtually motionless, his eyes drooping as the judge advised him of the severity of the case. At one point, Holmes simply closed his eyes."

"He never said a word."

According to reports, police officials said that the gunman described himself as the Joker, Batman's arch nemesis.

People Magazine reported, "'It clearly looks like a deranged individual. He had his hair painted red, he said he was 'The Joker,' obviously the enemy of Batman,' New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday at a press conference."

His actions in court also had observers, including prosecutors, wondering if he was being medicated or if he was mentally disturbed.

"He's not in this courtroom mentally," former FBI profiler Brad Garrett, an ABC News analyst, told "World News." "He's elsewhere. He's in some alternative reality that he's created. I also think that there's a combination of the reality of what has happened to him has set in, as to what it's done to himself as well as to the victims."

My FOX Phoenix spoke to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Steven Pitt.

"His outward expression of emotion was indifferent," says Pitt. "He almost seemed to be staring off into space maybe responding to hallucinations, that to me suggests we're dealing with someone who has a serious mental illness."

"It doesn't come out of nowhere, the more important piece of the proximity when that neighbor saw that individual and the perpetration of the offenses, the behavior if ever happens in a vacuum."

Dr. Pitt said in the coming weeks we'll start to get a better portrait of Holmes. He says an insanity defense is very likely, but not often successful.

In the courtroom, victims and their relatives watched the proceeding. McKayla Hicks was among them, reported WPTV. She was seated in the movie theater next door to the one where the killings occurred when a bullet struck her chin. Though she has largely recovered, she said Monday's court appearance was not easy to observe.

"Once he walked into the room, it just made everything a lot harder," she told CNN.

"He just looks like a pathetic freak," she said. "I just want him put away forever."

Jordan Ghawi, whose sister Jessica was among the 12 fatalities, was not in the courtroom.

"This guy's already had his 10 minutes of fame and I don't need to see the face of the man who's taken my sister's life," he said. "I was afraid that I may try to get my hands on that man."

He described Holmes as a coward and a genius. "I don't believe for a second that he's sitting there with his wide eyes and pretending to be incoherent," Ghawi said. "He knows what he's doing."

According to ABC News, Holmes was not arraigned Monday but was held in solitary confinement without bond on probable cause order for first degree murder. He is expected to return to court next week, to be formally charged and enter a plea.

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