Colorado theater shooting judge denies mistrial over video
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The judge in the Colorado theater shooting trial rejected defense attorneys’ second request for a mistrial Wednesday over video shown in court of a psychiatrist’s interview with gunman James Holmes.
Holmes’ lawyers argued that a portion of the video played Tuesday amounts to compelled testimony because Holmes is asked to describe the July 2012 attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.
Judge Carlos A. Samour denied the motion, saying that court-ordered sanity exams require questions about the crime and that the defense should have objected earlier. The videotaped evaluation was conducted after Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In footage shown Wednesday, the psychiatrist asked Holmes about what he felt when he thought about the shooting afterward. Holmes replied, “I guess I don’t feel anything.”
Holmes also told Dr. William Reid in the conversations recorded last year that he wasn’t using recreational drugs in the weeks before the attack and that his diet was relatively healthy — vegetables, dinners of chicken or spaghetti. His main indulgence was a daily doughnut.
In nearly 22 hours of interviews being shown in his death penalty trial this week, Holmes told the psychiatrist he would be remembered as a “bad guy.”
“I don’t think people would remember me for any other reason,” Holmes said. “I accomplished what I set out to do.”
Reid testified Tuesday that he found “a great deal of evidence of rational thinking” by Holmes.
Defense attorneys say schizophrenia distorted Holmes’ sense of right and wrong and that he should be committed indefinitely to the state mental hospital.
Prosecutors argue Holmes should be convicted and executed. They say he doesn’t meet Colorado’s definition of insanity: Unable to tell right from wrong or unable to form the intent necessary to commit a crime because of a mental disease or defect.
Reid has told jurors he believes Holmes was mentally ill but legally sane at the time of the shooting.
In portions of the interview shown Tuesday, Holmes says he lingered outside the theater for a moment or two, thinking someone at a mental health hotline might talk him out of killing people he didn’t know, or that the FBI might swoop in and stop him.
But his phone call to the crisis line was disconnected after 9 seconds, before anyone answered, and the FBI did not show up.
So after hesitating a few seconds more, he walked inside, tossed a tear-gas canister and opened fire, he says on the video.
“At that point, I’m on autopilot,” he says in an eerily flat and expressionless voice.
Why did he call? Reid asks.
“Just one last chance to see if I should turn back,” Holmes answers, but he said he doubted he could have been talked out of it.
What did he feel when the phone call was disconnected?
“Just that it was really going to happen,” he says.
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