Mother of Aurora theater shooter writes book as trial looms

Mother of Aurora Theater Shooter Writes Book as Trial Looms
Mother of Aurora Theater Shooter Writes Book as Trial Looms

(KDVR -- DEL MAR, Calif.) The mother of Aurora theater gunman James Holmes has written a book, revealing she prays for the victims of the shooting daily.

Most of the book, titled "When the Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes," contains a collection of prayers from her handwritten journals.

It also includes Arlene Holmes' feelings of guilt for not recognizing her son's mental illness and not getting him help. In one passage, she implies her son lived so he could be studied to prevent a future tragedy.

"What were you thinking, Jim? And what are you thinking now? Praying for Jim in jail; please don't commit suicide. You lived so that we could understand you and others could study you and learn to prevent future tragedy," Arlene Holmes wrote in an entry from Jan. 12, 2013.

Holmes' parents and his attorneys have said he was in a psychotic episode when he burst into the midnight showing of "The Dark Night Rises" at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater and opened fire on July 20, 2012.

Each of the 12 people who were killed and the 70 others who were injured are named in the book.

Arlene Holmes said in an interview with the Del Mar Times that James Holmes was never violent.

"We never owned a gun," Arlene Holmes said. "James showed no interest in guns."

She and her husband, Robert, say they are preparing for their son's trial and hope his life can be spared. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The trial is expected to begin with opening statements April 27.

"The pretrial process has been lengthy, stressful for everyone and expensive; the trial will be torturous and lengthy, and the appeal process in death penalty cases could last decades," she wrote in the forward of the book.

Arlene Holmes says she also prays for prosecutors as well as defense attorneys.

"I do not know why you want to pursue execution of a mentally ill man," Arlene Holmes wrote. "But I pray for you, so that you will find peace in your life. I pray you will change your mind. Please stop this quest for death so you may focus on those who are alive."

Arlene Holmes said proceeds from the book will be donated to mental health services, not to her son's defense.

"Because so many people like to blame the parents if a child is mentally ill, we have to reaffirm to ourselves every day that we were good parents and good people, and this still happened anyway," Arlene Holmes said.

In December, Robert and Arlene Holmes wrote in a letter that their son "is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness" who should be spared from the death penalty.