James Holmes “Was Very Relaxed” After Shooting

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 7 2013 5:16 PM

Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Suspect “Was Very Relaxed,” “Seemed Out of It”

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James Holmes poses for a booking photo September 20, 2012 in Centennial, Colorado

Photo by Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Police officers who arrested the man suspected of killing a dozen people during a midnight showing of a Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., on July 20 reported that he “seemed out of it.” On the first day of testimony in the preliminary hearing about the case, the police officer who first discovered James Holmes behind the theater said Holmes appeared to understand everything that was asked and complied with requests from officials, reports the Denver Post. "He was very relaxed," Officer Jason Oviatt testified. "It was like there weren't normal emotional responses." Holmes was "just standing there," Oviatt said. "Not doing anything. Not in any hurry. Not excited. Not urgent about anything."

Oviatt testified that when he first saw Holmes he thought he was an officer because of all the body armor he was wearing. He added that Holmes was dripping with sweat and his pupils were wide open, reports the Associated Press. Holmes, sporting a full beard and his natural dark brown hair, showed no visible emotion or reaction to any of the testimony, notes Reuters. It is widely expected that Holmes will eventually plead not guilty by reason of insanity, particularly considering that many of the questions from the attorneys on both sides seemed to try to frame the suspect’s state of mind right after the shooting.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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