Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Psychiatrist: Colorado Shooter 'Knew What He Was Doing'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Psychiatrist: Colorado Shooter 'Knew What He Was Doing'

Article excerpt

CENTENNIAL, Colo. * A state-appointed psychiatrist who examined James Holmes two years after his attack on a Colorado movie theater said Thursday that "whatever he suffered from" that night, he knew what he was doing.

Dr. William Reid told jurors he believes Holmes knew the consequences when he opened fire on the audience at a 2012 midnight Batman movie premiere, killing 12 people and injuring 70.

Reminded that his task was to determine whether Holmes was legally sane during the attack, Reid declared, "whatever he suffered from, it did not prevent him from forming intent and knowing the consequences of what he was doing."

The comment briefly frustrated the prosecutor, who said his witness had jumped ahead of him, and prompted the defense to ask for a mistrial.

Judge Carlos Samour ultimately denied the request, even as he acknowledged that it might confuse jurors on the key question of the trial. They must decide whether Holmes' disease or deficient mental state at the time of the attack met Colorado's legal definition of sanity, leaving him unable to form a "culpable mental state."

Essentially, the judge said, Reid was supposed to limit his opinions to whether Holmes was capable of understanding right from wrong but not whether he actually understood it.

"I do think someone could misunderstand the use of the term "prevent," Samour said, but he ruled that Reid's overall comments didn't violate that subtle boundary.

After a long break to settle the question, District Attorney George Brauchler asked Reid "to be precise" about his findings, and the psychiatrist gave the briefest possible responses.

Did Holmes have a serious mental illness? "Yes."

Despite that illness, did Holmes have "the capacity to know right from wrong" on July 19 and 20, the night of the attack? "Yes."

Did Holmes have the capacity to form the intent to act after deliberation, and to act knowingly? …

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