Parents of Dark Knight gunman who killed 12 in cinema: “He is not a monster!”
Are you kidding me? The parents of the man accused of murdering 12 people in a gun rampage at a movie theater have said their son does not deserve to be killed for his crimes.
The parents of the man accused of murdering 12 people in a gun rampage at a movie theater have said their son does not deserve to be killed for his crimes.
Robert and Arlene Holmes, whose son James is to face trial for a brutal 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado, also denied their son is a ‘monster’ on the grounds that he is mentally ill.
They argued Holmes, who is also accused of injuring 70 people in the massacre at a screening of Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, should be allowed to plead guilty by reason of insanity and begin a life of treatment, rather than go on trial.
Prosecutors are adamant Holmes should face the death penalty in front of an open court, which is due to select its jurors next month.
Media have been given permission to televise the trial – which Holmes’s parents argued could prove traumatic in a letter to The Denver Post.
While they acknowledged that many of those affected ‘would like to see our son killed’, they said lifelong treatment would be ‘best’ for him.
‘He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,’ they wrote.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the 2012 attack at a movie theater in Aurora outside Denver. Jury selection is scheduled to start January 20.
His parents, who live in Rancho Penasquitos, California, say they also would like to avoid a traumatic trial.
One option would be a plea deal allowing him to plead guilty to the charges in exchange for life in prison without parole.
‘If that happened, our son would be in prison the rest of his life, but no one would have to relive those horrible events at a trial the media has permission to televise,’ they wrote.
They say the best option for their son would be if he is sent to an institution for the mentally ill, which could happen if he is found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Holmes’ parents say they have spent every moment of the two years since the shooting thinking about the victims and their families and friends.
‘We are always praying for everyone in Aurora. We wish that July 20, 2012 never happened,’ they wrote.
The letter is the first public comment by Holmes’ parents about the shooting since some brief comments made through a lawyer immediately after the attack in which they also expressed support for him.
They have not disclosed details of their son’s condition or whether they had any warning that he might become violent.
As the parents of James Holmes, we have spent every moment for more than two years thinking about those who were injured, and the families and friends of the deceased who were killed, in the theater shooting in Aurora.
We are always praying for everyone in Aurora. We wish that July 20, 2012, never happened.
Our son pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges associated with these shootings.
Defense attorneys for our son first stated in open court in May 2013 that James was diagnosed in Colorado with a serious mental illness.
Prior to July 20, 2012, he never harmed anyone and he had no criminal history.
We understand that if our son is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could go to an institution that provides treatment for the mentally ill for the remainder of his life.
This result would prevent any future harm to him and others.
We realize treatment in an institution would be best for our son. We love our son, we have always loved him, and we do not want him to be executed.
We also decry the need for a trial. A lengthy trial requires everyone to relive those horrible moments in time, causing additional trauma.
In the criminal justice system, the prosecution and defense can agree to a sentence of life in prison, without parole, in exchange for a guilty plea.
If that happened, our son would be in prison the rest of his life, but no one would have to relive those horrible events at a trial the media has permission to televise.
We do not know how many victims of the theater shooting would like to see our son killed. But we are aware of people’s sentiments.
We have read postings on the Internet that have likened him to a monster. He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness.
We believe that the death penalty is morally wrong, especially when the condemned is mentally ill.
We are not alone in our sentiments. The Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, an international organization of family members of murder victims and family members of the executed, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness formed the ‘Prevention, Not Execution Project,’ aimed at ending the death penalty for people with severe mental illness.
Our family has not given interviews to the media because we do not want coverage of ourselves.
We mourn the deaths and the serious injuries and emotional trauma of the others who were in the theater. The focus should be on the injured and their healing. Source: The Denver Post
The evil this man committed in that Denver theater is forever imprinted in to our memories. In addition to the actual act, the pain and anguish the victims families have endured is enough to give this evil man the death penalty. He robbed so many people of their lives, both the survivors and victims. He deserves to meet the same fate.