Is James Holmes Legally Insane and Will He Face the Death Penalty?
After killing 12 people and injuring 58 others, the Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes appeared in court for the first time. He did not speak or interact with his defense team, and some are speculating whether he will plead insanity and if prosecutors will seek the death penalty. Tonight on Hannity, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr., defense attorney Jose Baez, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi helped explain what’s next in the legal case.
Johnson said, “If in fact the defendant says ‘I’m insane,’ then the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove that he’s sane. But at the same time, the prosecution’s hands are going to be tied … by recent cases in the state of Colorado. They will not be able to get their own psychiatric examinations of this defendant.”
When observing Holmes in court today, Johnson wondered if he was medicated or, “Is he an actor, it is real, is he the greatest actor
that we’ve seen in 50 years in the United States in terms of criminal defendants?”
Hannity asked Baez, other than insanity what is their defense since it’s not really in dispute that he committed these crimes. Baez said the defense is going to need a long history of documented mental illness in order to prove insanity.
Baez analyzed, “If you look at this case, it’s really not a who done it, it’s more of a why was it done. And I think this case is going to boil down to a penalty phase – does he get life in prison or does he get the death penalty. I think that there’s too much premeditation, too many calculated moves done by this defendant in this case to even pass on the insanity defense. I really think this is just a penalty phase in a death penalty case.”
Bondi weighed in on the possibility of the death penalty in this case, saying, “Practically speaking, what this jury’s going to hear, they’re going to see 12 bodies of these victims in this mass murder, they’re going to hear testimonies from their friends who were at the theater with them – including the body of a six-year-old child. They’re going to hear from 58 injured people, they’re going to see photographs of a three-month-old baby that was injured, and that’s really hard to get around even given the tough death penalty issues in Colorado.”