Hours before James Holmes allegedly carried out a massacre at a Colorado movie theater he took a series of menacing self-portraits with his dyed orange hair curling out of from under a black skull cap and his eyes covered with black contacts.
A prosecutor told the court after the photographs were shown that Holmes had a "depravity of human heart."
Those haunting photographs, found on his iPhone, were shown in court today on the last day of a preliminary testimony that will lead to a decision on whether the case will go to trial. The hearing concluded without Holmes' defense calling any witnesses.
The judge's decision on whether the case will proceed to trial is expected on Friday.
Holmes, 25, is accused of opening fire on a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others during a showing of "Dark Knight Rises."
The photos presented in court showed Holmes mugging for his iPhone camera just hours before the shooting.
Half-a-dozen photos showed Holmes with his clownish red-orange hair curled out from underneath a black skull cap. He wore black contact lenses in some of the pictures.
In one particularly disturbing image, he was making a scowling face with his tongue out. He was whistling in another photo. Holmes is smiling in his black contacts and flaming hair in yet another with the muzzle of one of his Glock pistols in the forefront.
Yet another showed him dressed in black tactical gear, posing with an AR-15 rifle.
Victims' families in the courtroom stared straight ahead, showing little emotion while the photos were shown. Tom Teves, whose son Alex was killed in the theater, kept an intense stare on the pictures.
Other photos seized from the iPhone show pictures that a detective testified were taken of the interior of the Aurora movie theater in the days leading up to the attack, on June 29, July 5 and July 11.
Before the prosecution called for the photos, public defender Tammy Brady objected. Prosecutor Karen Pearson said that the photos showed deliberation and extreme indifference. Judge William Sylvester overruled the objection and the photos were released.
In Pearson's closing statement, she said there is an abundance of direct evidence that Holmes "wanted to kill call of them. He knew what he was doing."
She said that Holmes had a "depravity of human heart" and that he "went into the theater without knowing or caring who they are." The prosecutor said he "picked the perfect venue for the perfect crime."
Pearson said prosecutors made a decision not to include all of the people who were in theaters eight and nine that night. If they had, they could have had 1,500 counts against Holmes. Instead, they included anyone who had physical injuries, including those with gunshot wounds and those who were hurt running out of the theater. There are 166 counts in all.
The judge has taken the case under advisement and there will be a status hearing or arraignment on Friday when the judge will decide whether the case will proceed to a full trial. Holmes' attorneys have not yet said whether they plan on using a insanity defense, in which case Holmes could possibly be deemed unfit to stand trial. Another possibility is that the hearing could set the stage for a plea deal.
This week's testimony has included emotional testimony from first responders, details about Holmes' elaborately booby trapped apartment, a rundown of his arsenal of legally purchased weapons and descriptions of his bizarre behavior following the shooting.
- Crime & Justice
- Politics & Government
- movie theater