New things we learned about Colorado theater shooting

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Insanity Defense for James Holmes Could Prove Difficult

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - Opening arguments in the Colorado theater shooting trial revealed a torrent of new details about James Holmes and the 2012 attack that killed 12 and injured 70. The judge had ordered attorneys not to talk about many details until the trial started. So instead of a rehash of what everyone already knew, the first day of the trial was full of revelations:

DECLARED SANE

Because he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, Holmes was subject to two state mental health evaluations. The results had been confidential until the first minutes of opening arguments, when prosecutor George Brauchler revealed that both exams found Holmes was sane at the time of the attack.

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BUT SCHIZOPHRENIC

Defense attorneys countered that Holmes suffers from schizophrenia, thought Barack Obama was communicating with him through winks and nods in public speeches and held a bizarre theory that each life he took would somehow add to his own value. Behind bars, he sprinted into a wall while naked, cowered under a blanket and sucked his thumb and cried.

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HISTORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Holmes' two grandfathers both suffered from schizophrenia, as does an aunt. Defense lawyer Daniel King said during opening statements Monday that Holmes was a normal child through elementary school but began to have mental health problems in middle school, attempting suicide at age 11.

Defense attorney Katherine Spengler said Holmes' mental illness "revved up" in his 20s. She said he wanted to study neuroscience to find a fix for what was wrong with his brain.

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James Holmes Aurora 'Dark Knight' shooting & pre-trial
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New things we learned about Colorado theater shooting
Crime scene tape surrounds the Century 16 movie theater where 12 people were killed in a shooting rampage last Friday, on July 23, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Suspect James Holmes, 24, allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed 12 people and injured 58 during an early morning screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises.' (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Friday, July 20, 2012 file photo, Tom Sullivan, center, embraces family members outside Gateway High School where he has been searching franticly for his son Alex Sullivan who celebrated his 27th birthday by going to see "The Dark Knight Rises," movie where a gunman opened fire, in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Investigators remove computer equipment as evidence from the apartment of alleged gunman James Holmes, Saturday, July 21, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Authorities reported that 12 died and more than three dozen people were shot during an assault at a movie theatre midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises." (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Aurora police top brass commander Jack Daluz (R), Roger Cloyd (C) and division chief Kevin Flynn visit the makeshift memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater on July 25, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. Twenty-four-year-old James Holmes is suspected of killing 12 and injuring 58 others on July 20 during a shooting rampage at a screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises' in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Seen from the air, blood-stained footprints dot the back of the Century 16 movie theatre where suspect James Holmes went on a shooting rampage during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises' on July 21, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and over 59 injured including 9 in critical condition . Police have the suspect, twenty-four year old James Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 21: Seen from the air, police continue to investigate outside the Century 16 movie theatre where suspect James Holmes went on a shooting rampage during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises' on July 21, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and over 59 injured including 9 in critical condition . Police have the suspect, twenty-four year old James Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - JULY 21: Law enforcement officials tow nearby cars as they prepare to disarm the booby-trapped apartment of suspect James Holmes after he went on a shooting rampage at nearby Century 16 movie theatre during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises' on July 21, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and over 59 injured. Police have the suspect, twenty-four year old James Holmes of North Aurora, in custody and are now dealing with various devices and trip wires in the apartment. (Photo by Chris Schneider/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials carry buckets from the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect in the Century 16 movie theatre shooting, on July 21, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and over 59 injured including 9 in critical condition. Police have the suspect, twenty-four year old James Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Chris Schneider/Getty Images)
Police break the window of the apartment of of James Holmes, the suspect of a shooting in a movie theater July 20, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and 59 wounded when James allegedly opened fire inside the a movie theater showing the 'The Dark Knight Rises.' Police have James, 24, of Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
Yellow markers sit next to evidence, including a gas mask, as police investigate the scene outside the Century 16 movie theater east of the Aurora Mall in Aurora, Colo. on Friday, July 20, 2012. A gunman in a gas mask barged into a crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight showing of the Batman movie on Friday, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Lt. H.D. Gidden speaks briefly to the media outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning after a gunman opened fire at the midnight premiere of the Dark Knight Rises Batman movie Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
Melissa Clark, left, and Nathan Mendonca, both 18 and from Aurora, Colo., look on during a vigil across from the Century 16 theatre east of the Aurora Mall in Aurora, Colo., on Friday, July 20, 2012. Authorities report that 12 died and more than three dozen people were shot during an assault at the theatre during a midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight." (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning after a shooting at a movie theater, Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater at a midnight opening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," killing at least 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
AURORA, CO - JULY 20: The Century 16 movie theatre is seen where a gunmen attacked movie goers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises' July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and over 59 injured. Police have the suspect, twenty-four year old James Holmes of North Aurora, in custody. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
Candles cover the sidewalk at a memorial across from the theater, Monday, July 30, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Twelve people were killed and more than 50 wounded in a shooting attack early Friday at the packed theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Rita Paulina, in wheelchair, who was injured in the attack, departs the Arapahoe County Courthouse after an arraignment hearing for accused theater shooter James Holmes, Monday, July 30, 2012 in Centennial, Colo. Colorado prosecutors filed formal charges Monday against Holmes, the former neuroscience student accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora movie theater. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A man walks on a hill near crosses set up at the memorial to victims of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, early Friday, July 27, 2012. It was a week ago Friday that a gunman opened fire during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" Batman movie, killing 12 and injuring dozens of others. Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Pallbearers and funeral workers carry the casket bearing the body of Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting victim AJ Boik to a hearse following Boik's funeral, Friday, July 27, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. Boik was a recent high-school graduate. Boik, 18, was one of twelve people killed in a shooting attack, that also wounded dozens, last Friday at a packed movie theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A row of different AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop, Thursday, July 26, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. The Friday, July 20, 2012 massacre inside a crowded Colorado movie theater has prompted a sudden increase in gun sales and firearms training. Police said suspect James Holmes donned body armor and was armed with an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and handguns during the attack. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A Batman logo is shown at the memorial to victims of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, Friday, July 27, 2012. It was a week ago Friday that a gunman opened fire during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" Batman movie, killing 12 and injuring dozens of others. Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Members of the prosecution team arrive to view inside the apartment where accused killer James Homes lived, Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Twelve people were killed and over 50 wounded in a shooting attack early Friday at the packed theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, center, talks to guests at the funeral for Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting victim AJ Boik, Friday, July 27, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. Boik, 18, was one of twelve people killed in a shooting attack, that also wounded dozens, last Friday at a packed movie theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this Monday, July 23, 2012 file photo, James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people in Friday's shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, appears in Arapahoe County District Court with defense attorney Tamara Brady in Centennial, Colo. A court hearing Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 will examine Holmes' relationship with a University of Colorado psychiatrist to whom he mailed a package containing a notebook that reportedly contains violent descriptions of an attack. His attorneys say Holmes is mentally ill and that he sought help from psychiatrist Lynne Fenton at the school, where he was a Ph.D. student, until shortly before the July 20 shooting. Prosecutors allege Holmes may have been angry at the failure of a once promising academic career. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)
A Batman doll lies in a memorial near the the Century 16 movie theater Sunday, July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Twelve people were killed and dozens were injured in a shooting attack early Friday at the packed theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
FBI agents photograph the bedroom in the apartment of alleged gunman James Holmes with a poster titled "Soldiers of Misfortune" Saturday, July 21, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Authorities reported that 12 died and more than three dozen people were shot during an assault at a movie theatre midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises." (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Law enforcement officers prepare to disarm the booby-trapped apartment of suspect James Holmes after he went on a shooting rampage at nearby Century 16 movie theatre during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises' on July 21, 2012 in Aurora, outside of Denver, Colorado. According to reports, 12 people have been killed and over 59 injured. Police have the suspect, twenty-four year old James Holmes of North Aurora, in custody and are now dealing with various devices and trip wires in the apartment. (Photo by Chris Schneider/Getty Images)
In this Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, file photo, Arlene Holmes, center, is consoled as she leaves the courtroom after a pretrial readiness hearing in the murder trial of her son, James Holmes, in Centennial, Colo. Robert and Arlene Holmes are asking that their son not receive the death penalty. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in January 2015, for the 2012 attack in Aurora that killed 12 people and injured 70. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Arlene (L) and Robert Holmes, the parents of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes, arrive at the court house after a midday recess during a hearing in the Arapahoe County Justice Center on April 1, 2013 in Centennial, Colorado. It was announced that District Attorney George Brauchler will seek the death penalty for suspect James Holmes who is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes in the Aurora theater shooting on July 20, 2012. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
In this July 23, 2012 file photo, James E. Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo. Nearly six months after a bloody rampage in a Colorado movie theater left 12 people dead, prosecutors will go to court Monday Jan. 7, 2013 to outline their case against the suspect, James Holmes. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)
(R), the parents of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes, arrive at the courtroom for a hearing in the Arapahoe County Justice Center on April 1, 2013 in Centennial, Colorado. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for suspect James Holmes, who is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes in the Aurora theater shooting on July 20, 2012. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - SEPTEMBER 20: In this photo provided by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, James Holmes poses for a booking photo September 20, 2012 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes is charged with 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the July 20, shooting rampage at an opening night screening of 'The Dark Knight Rises' in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
This June 4, 2013 file photo shows Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in court in Centennial, Colo. Holmes returns to court Monday Jan. 27, 2014, for a closed hearing on whether he should get a second psychiatric evaluation. Holmes is charged with the July 2012 Aurora shootings that killed 12 people and injured 70. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool, File)
Lonnie and Sandy Phillips listen as their lawyer speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. The Phillips, parents of Jessica Ghawi, who was killed in the July 20, 2012 Colorado theater shootings, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing four online retailers of improperly selling ammunition, tear gas, a high-capacity magazine and body armor used in the attack. The lawsuit alleges it was illegal and negligent to sell the gear to James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 20, 2012, attack. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Lonnie and Sandy Phillips speak during a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. The Phillips, parents of Jessica Ghawi, who was killed in the July 20, 2012 Colorado theater shootings, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing four online retailers of improperly selling ammunition, tear gas, a high-capacity magazine and body armor used in the attack. The lawsuit alleges it was illegal and negligent to sell the gear to James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 20, 2012, attack. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. speaks during a hearing for Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in Centennial, Colo., on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Samour accepted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity from Holmes. He also ruled that prosecutors can have access to a notebook Holmes sent to a psychiatrist before last summer's rampage. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool)
Defense Attorney Daniel King, right, and Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes review advisement documents in court in Centennial, Colo., on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Holmes was allowed to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool)
Defense Attorney Daniel King, right, and Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes attend court in Centennial, Colo., on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. Holmes was allowed to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool)
In this March 12, 2013 file photo, James Holmes, left, and defense attorney Tamara Brady appear in district court in Centennial, Colo. for his arraignment. Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado theater massacre, could enter his long-expected insanity plea at a hearing Tuesday June 4, 2013, though the case could also veer off on another tangent as his lawyers seek the strongest possible defense. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)
Family members and victims are escorted to the courtroom for a hearing where Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes asked a judge to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, Monday, May 13, 2013, in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Defense attorney Tamara Brady talks to defendant James Holmes during his arraignment in Centennial, Colo., on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Judge William Blair Sylvester entered a not guilty plea on behalf of James Holmes on Tuesday after the former graduate student's defense team said he was not ready to enter one. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool)
In this Tuesday, March 12, 2013 file photo, Judge William Blair Sylvester speaks during James Holmes' arraignment, where he entered a guilty plea for Holmes, in district court in Centennial, Colo., after the former graduate student's defense team said he was not ready to enter one. On Monday, April 1, 2013, Sylvester named a new judge, Carlos A. Samour Jr., to take over Holmes' case. As chief judge for the district, Sylvester is responsible for the overall running of the court and said he couldn’t do that and also oversee a complicated death penalty case. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)
This courtroom sketch shows James Holmes being escorted by a deputy as he arrives at preliminary hearing in district court in Centennial, Colo., on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Investigators say Holmes opened fire during the midnight showing of the latest Batman movie on July 20, killing 12 people and wounding dozens. (AP Photo/Bill Robles, Pool) TV OUT
Arlene Holmes, mother of Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes, walks back into court at the Arapahoe County Justice Center for a hearing in the 2012 Colorado movie theatre shooting case, Tuesday, July 22, 2014 in Centennial, Colo. The court will look at setting a new trial date in the case against James Holmes. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool)
James Holmes parents Robert and Arlene Holmes arrive at district court for the arraignment of their son Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes in Centennial, Colo., on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. The judge has entered a not guilty on behalf of James Holmes after his lawyer said he's not ready to enter a plea. Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding more than 50 in a crowded Colorado movie theater last year. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
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HOLMES' HAIR

Many speculated after the attack that Holmes dyed his hair bright orange to emulate the Batman villain The Joker before attacking the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. But Brauchler said Holmes told investigators he picked the color just because he thought it'd look better than green or blue.

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HOLMES' GIRLFRIEND

Prosecutors said Holmes had had a girlfriend who broke up with him months before the attack. He told her in an online chat about killing many people but she thought it was "theoretical." The breakup devastated Holmes.


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