And he’ll likely plea insanity.  His defense team has been working hard to show that Holmes was loony at the time of the shooting and so must be judged incompetent to stand trial. As Dan Elliott, writing for the Associated Press, put it: “[Holmes] returns to court this week for a hearing that might be the closest thing to a trial the victims and their families will get to see.”

Laurie Levenson is a professor at Loyola Law School and thinks this week’s “mini-trial” will result in his insanity plea. This week’s preliminary hearing is “the first step to resolving such a case  – a mini trial – so both sides can see the writing on the wall.”  Although the judge in the case has issued a gag order so that the public knows little at the moment, the hearings will finally expose more of what Holmes did and how he acted in the days and weeks leading up to his back in July.

Holmes is super-bright. He got a scholarship that would lead to a doctorate in neuroscience, and appeared to be handling his course load well until something snapped – or so it appears – back in May. He went crazy (his lawyers will say): buying weapons, ammunition, wiring his apartment with explosives, purchasing combat gear, leaving strange messages on his answering machine, dying his hair orange, putting on a dazed expression that got national exposure, etc.

Now that his “bizarre behavior” has been noted, Holmes has reverted back to normal:

By last week his hair was a natural-looking brown and wore a full beard. He sat quietly and seemed to be aware of the proceedings.

An insanity plea

is based on evaluations by forensic mental health professionals with the appropriate test according to the jurisdiction. Their testimony guides the jury, but they are not allowed to testify to the accused’s criminal responsibility, as this is a matter for the jury to decide. Similarly, mental practitioners are restrained from making a judgment on the issue of whether the defendant is or is not insane or what is known as the “ultimate issue.”

If he pleads insanity, Holmes will be committed to a psychiatric facility at taxpayers’ expense for “an indeterminate period.”

And that, for all intents and purposes, will be the end of the matter. Nothing will be noted about the possibility of a second shooter, or answers to questions about drug use, or Holmes’ financial backing. It’ll just be buried and forgotten, except for the media referring to it from time to time in their continuing diatribe against guns.




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