Suspect’s strange court behavior and possibility of insanity defense

AURORA, Colo. — After James Holmes’ bizarre behavior in court some people are wondering if he is mentally ill, if he was medicated or if he was just putting on a show. 

During court Holmes seemed dazed.  He didn’t look at anyone.

Sometimes he was wide-eyed and sometimes he closed his eyes. Now many are wondering if he will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Defense attorney Phil Cherner says lawyers would have to prove Holmes did not know right from wrong at the time of the crime.

“To show a credible mental health defense, you need a history of mental illness, doesn`t have to be a long one, but it has to be documented, plus bizarre behavior, plus subsequent diagnoses,” Cherner said.

Former Denver District Attorney Norm Early says he believes there are many things in this case that seem to indicate to him that Holmes is sane.

Holmes allegedly spent months ordering guns and ammunition.  “He took precautions to protect himself when he was going to put the lives of many others in danger by putting on full body armor,” Early said.

Plus he told the police his apartment was booby trapped, a sign to Early that he knew what was right and wrong.  Experts say an insanity defense would be very hard to fake, even for a graduate student studying neurosciences.