The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 9, 2013

Police: Colo. shooting suspect planned massacre

(Continued)

The attempt at a distraction speaks to a plan to escape but the traps weren't triggered. Holmes, clad from head to toe in body armor, was found standing by his car outside the theater. He told investigators that the booby-trapped apartment was an effort to pull police away from the theater so that, under the scenario, he wouldn't expect to see police so quickly.

Police said he volunteered information about the booby traps. Authorities went to the apartment and carefully dismantled them.

Prosecutors also used Holmes' dating website profiles to try to prove he knew the consequences of his actions. On two social networking websites — Match.com and FriendFinder.com — Holmes asked: "Will you visit me in prison?"

The Match profile was created in April; the FriendFinder account was opened on July 5. Holmes last accessed the sites two days before the July 20 shooting, detective Tom Welton testified.

Defense attorney Daniel King asked Appel if Holmes was tested for drugs or other substances.

"I saw no indication that he was under the influence of anything," Appel said.

Holmes' lawyers could have waived the first public airing of the case against him, but legal analysts say they may see the mini-trial as a chance to gauge the prosecution's case or tactics to prepare for a possible plea agreement.

Cases rarely advance to this stage without a judge agreeing to set a trial.

If Holmes is found sane and goes to trial and is convicted, his attorneys can try to stave off a possible death penalty by arguing he is mentally ill. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

If he's found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would likely be sent to the state mental hospital, not prison. Such a defendant is deemed not guilty because he didn't know right from wrong and is therefore "absolved" of the crime, said former Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey, who recently lost an insanity case.

Last year, Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood was acquitted by reason of insanity in the wounding of two eighth-graders outside a school not far from Columbine High School. His case garnered national headlines after a math teacher tackled him and stopped the shooting.

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