James Holmes, the Colorado theater gunman, said he realized his mission to kill as many people as possible was wrong from a legal point of view, according to a conversation he had with a psychiatrist. However, the shooter only feels sorry for killing a young girl, and seems proud for taking the lives of others.
“Human life has value. If you take lives away, that adds to your value,” Holmes could be heard saying on the videotaped conversation with Dr. William Reid, a state-appointed psychiatrist. “Anything they would have pursued gets canceled out and given to me.”
However, Holmes expressed his regret for killing 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan during the suburban Denver movie theater rampage, as he thinks children are “morally different” from adults. In total, 12 people died and seventy others were injured in the July 20, 2012 shooting spree.
Dr. Reid presented the court with more than 22 hours of video footage of the conversations he had with Holmes. During the interviews, the attacker kept referring to his actions as a crime, and even suggested he is feeling remorse for the massacre. Holmes testified he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night crying when he realizes what he did.
There is no doubt the attack was carefully planned, as the gunman described how he chose to wear body armor in order to prevent from getting interrupted by the police once he started shooting. Also, he wanted to look terrifying so the members of the audience would not try to bring him down. “You don’t want 400 people rushing you. I guess they could easily have overwhelmed me,” he said.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his defense lawyers are trying to convince the jury that he had severe schizophrenia, which hampered his ability to distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the incident. Prosecutors, on the other hand, want to see him convicted and executed.
The recent video footage could help the prosecutors’ case a great deal. “Whatever regret he had, he makes it clear that getting the points and killing the people was worth it,” Dr. Reid explained.
According to Colorado law, legal insanity is defined as the inability to distinguish between right and wrong due to a mental disease or defect. If the jury deems Holmes legally insane, he will be sent to a mental institution instead of getting executed.
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