Holmes: Mind 'was kind of falling apart' before shooting
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- James Holmes said his "mind was kind of falling apart" and he began to have homicidal thoughts months before he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a Colorado movie theater, according to a video excerpt presented Friday at his murder trial.
Holmes told a state-appointed psychiatrist in the videotaped interview that he had contracted mononucleosis in late 2011 and became depressed and lacked energy partly because of a breakup with a girlfriend in early 2012.
"My mind was kind of falling apart," he told Dr. William Reid in the interview at a state mental hospital two years after the July 20, 2012, Aurora theater attack. "I don't know what else to say."
Asked by Reid whether he ever thought about hurting or killing himself, Holmes replied: "No." Asked about killing other people, Holmes said: "Yes."
Holmes said he associated depression with suicidal thoughts and added: "I kind of transferred my suicidal thoughts into homicidal."
Prosecutors presented no context to accompany the video clip - part of a promised 22 hours of redacted videotaped interviews the jury will see of Holmes' state-ordered evaluation. Reid testified Thursday that following the exam, he determined that Holmes was legally sane at the time of the shooting.
Holmes' attorneys have yet to question Reid, a key witness for the prosecution that has the burden of proof in trying to convince the jury to reject Holmes' plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking a guilty verdict and the death penalty; if jurors find for Holmes, he would spend his life in a state mental hospital.
On screen, Holmes appeared cautious, even wary, his hands clasped as he answered with few words. In court, Holmes did not glance at the video screen but stared straight ahead, swiveling lightly in his chair.
Reid did the vast majority of talking in the video clip, apparently trying to get Holmes to open up as he asked the defendant about a wide range of topics, including faith, his parents, his preference for being alone, books he liked and childhood nightmares.
Holmes said faith was important to his mother but that he was "never really a believer." Asked about his parents' relationship, he said he "could see love between them" and that he also felt loved.
He said he sympathized with Lennie Small, a troubled migrant worker in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." He said he suffered nightmares as a child and sometimes experienced a catatonic state, a "frozen feeling." He preferred to live alone in an apartment at college.
In a segment shown Thursday, Holmes told Reid he sometimes cries before he goes to bed because he regrets the shooting.
But the details were seemingly random and so far sketchy as prosecutors launch into the process of drawing a profile of Holmes - one largely shrouded from the public in part because of pre-trial gag orders and Holmes' penchant for solitude, including his time in Denver as a graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado medical center.
This week, prosecutors introduced into evidence a notebook in which Holmes methodically weighed pros and cons of a theater attack and included notes on his mental condition.
Holmes wrote about how he liked to keep his distance from psychiatrists and therapists who treated him: "Prevent building false sense of rapport. Speak truthfully and deflect incriminating questions. Oddly they don't pursue or delve farther (sic) into harmful omissions."
Judge Carlos A. Samour told the jury they should consider what they see and hear in the interviews only for the purpose of determining the issue of Holmes' sanity.
Colorado law defines a defendant as insane if he or she was so mentally diseased or deficient at the time of committing a crime as to be incapable of telling right from wrong, or of being able to form a culpable state of mind.
Reid has acknowledged that between the attack and his interview, Holmes suffered a physical and mental breakdown and began taking anti-psychotic and other medications.