JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - James Holmes - the suspect in the recent Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting - is charged with 142 counts related to murder or attempted murder.
He faces two first-degree murder charges for each of the 12 people killed and two attempted first-degree murder charges for every one of the 58 injured in the July 20 shooting.
“Undoubtedly, the government will be going for the death penalty in this case,” said Mark Rubin, WOKV’s legal analyst and an attorney at Rubin & Rubin in Jacksonville.
He said Holmes’ attorneys will probably argue the insanity defense.
“The question is not whether he’s insane right now,” he said.
“The question is ‘was he insane at the time he pulled the trigger?’”
He says they may look into if he was insane when he prepared for the attack by purchasing weapons and ammo.
Rubin says he's represented many criminal defendants where they used the insanity defense, and he says it's a very challenging place for an attorney because sometimes your client can help you, and sometimes they can't.
“Nevertheless, as a defense attorney, you’re charged with providing the best representation you can provide. And that means whether or not your client can help you.”
When asked how likely it is that the jury will find a former neuroscience student not guilty because of insanity during the shooting:
“They say that sometimes genius borders on insanity. We might be defining that line in this case.”
Rubin says they may argue diminished capacity, meaning Holmes maybe knew right from wrong, but there were other factors in his life that kept him from thinking clearly.
If they are able to prove it, he may be incarcerated for his life and not put to death.
Rubin says it's too early to tell, but if Holmes is found guilty without insanity and receives the death penalty, he says it'll probably be a long time before it actually happens.
“Justice is sure, but not necessarily swift,” he said.