Thursday, April 26, 2018

Self-portraits: Holmes sticks out tongue, displays guns

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The photos are chilling and enigmatic, just like their subject. In the pictures, taken on his iPhone hours before the Aurora movie theater massacre, James Holmes mugs for the camera, sticks out his tongue and smiles as he holds a Glock under his face and displays an arsenal arrayed on his bed.

Prosecutors who showed the photographs at a three-day hearing that ended Wednesday argued that the photos display "identity, deliberation and extreme indifference."

Holmes' attorneys, who have been setting up an insanity defense and said they might present testimony about the defendant's mental health, decided not to call any witnesses.

A judge is due to rule by Friday whether prosecutors presented enough evidence to justify Holmes' standing trial for more than 160 felony counts stemming from the July 20 attack, which killed 12 people and injured 70. Holmes may enter a formal plea that day.

Legal experts say the evidence against Holmes is so strong that the case may end in a plea deal. That would make the hearing the only detailed presentation of the evidence that victims, their families and the public will hear.

Holmes, 25, sat impassively through much of the proceedings, watching intently as a surveillance video showed him entering the theater lobby. Family members, who had a better view of Holmes' face than the media did, said he smiled several times, especially when the photos were shown.

"He's not crazy; he's evil," said Tom Teves, whose 24-year-old son, Alex, was killed in the attack. "He's an animal."

About six hours before the attack, Holmes took a series of photos on his phone. In one, he wears black contact lenses and a black stocking cap, with two tufts of his dyed-red hair sticking out like a pair of horns. In another, he holds a pistol beneath his face, twisted into a grin. In a third, much of his arsenal — an assault rifle and a shotgun, magazines for ammunition, tactical gear and bags to carry rounds — is displayed on a red sheet on his bed.

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