Defense Team Believes James Holmes to be Mentally Ill: How Will This Affect the Case?
The defense team for James Holmes, the accused shooter in the Colorado movie massacre, revealed yesterday in court that they believe their client to be mentally ill. America’s Newsroom spoke with criminal defense attorney Greg Gianforcaro and former prosecutor Kelly Saindin about what this means for the future of the case, and whether or not Holmes’ attorneys are planning an insanity defense.
“I think, under the circumstances, it’s the only possible defense they have … in this type situation,” said Gianforcaro. “I absolutely do believe that they’re going to go for insanity.” Giancarlo also stated that the prosecution is almost certainly going to pursue the death penalty for Holmes, and an insanity defense is their best bet for avoiding that outcome. “If I’m (Holmes’) attorney,” added Gianforcaro, “that’s what I’m going to go for, because obviously, the prosecution is going to go for the death penalty.”
Former prosecutor Kelly Saindon added that Holmes’ appearance may help with their defense, saying, “From a defense perspective, that is what you want … the crazier he looks, the better.”
In this case, however, Saindon went on to say that the insanity defense isn’t necessarily airtight, as the prosecutors may claim that Holmes carefully planned out his actions in advance. “In order to get (an insanity defense), you have to say that they couldn’t understand right from wrong at the time of the act.” She added that despite how Holmes acts presently, the prosecution could contend that he knew what he was doing prior to the massacre. “I would say this was planned out. He ordered all that ammunition, he ordered those weapons … I’m gonna say this was not insanity.”