The Latest: Doctor: Mental illness led to Colorado shooting
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The latest in the sentencing phase of the Colorado theater shooting trial (all times local):
A court-appointed psychiatrist who concluded that James Holmes was legally sane when he attacked a Colorado movie theater says Holmes’ mental illness still is what caused him to kill 12 people and injure 70 others.
Holmes’ lawyers called Dr. Jeffrey Metzner to testify Monday as part of an effort to spare Holmes from the death penalty. He previously testified for prosecutors that Holmes, despite his mental illness, knew right from wrong and therefore met the legal definition of sanity under Colorado law.
On the stand Monday, Metzner said Holmes’ actions were “directly related” to his delusions that killing people would increase his self-worth. Metzner diagnosed Holmes with schizoaffective disorder and said the shooting wouldn’t have happened except for Holmes’ mental illness.
The judge in the Colorado theater shooting trial has determined that jurors who heard about last week’s deadly shooting at a movie theater in Louisiana could still be impartial.
Twelve jurors said they had seen or heard about Thursday’s shooting through news reports or from friends or family but said they quickly turned away or ended those conversations.
One woman acknowledged that she “wasn’t thinking” when she skimmed an article about the Lafayette shooting that killed two and wounded nine. She mentioned it to her husband, who said he didn’t bring it up because he didn’t think she should know about it.
Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. rejected a defense motion to remove her, partly because she didn’t remember if she read about it before jurors were ordered Friday to avoid media coverage of events similar to the Colorado attack.
Testimony has now resumed in the trial’s sentencing phase.
Jurors deciding whether Colorado theater shooter James Holmes should be sentenced to death or life in prison are being questioned about whether the deadly theater shooting last week in Louisiana might influence them.
Holmes’ lawyers asked Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. on Monday to poll jurors about whether they had seen or read anything about the shooting that killed two and wounded nine others. Twelve jurors raised their hands.
Samour then questioned them individually, asking how much they knew about Thursday’s shooting and whether they had discussed it with anyone.
The defense is concerned that some jurors might want to punish Holmes for possibly inspiring a copycat shooting.
The same jurors deciding his fate convicted him of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 2012 attack.
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