Prosecutors asked him only two questions: Was he married to Katie? Was he at the theater that night?
From a wheelchair, he answered the first with a breathy, grunted “Yeah.”
To the second, he tapped out his answer on a poster board with the letters of the alphabet: Y, E, S.
His wife filled in the rest of their story, recalling her desperation between the seats before she decided to make a break for it, to try to save their baby. She said she took his hand, and felt him squeeze hers back, thinking she’d never again see him alive.
“I told him that I loved him and that I would take care of our baby if he didn’t make it,” she said.
She later gave birth to a healthy son, now 3, as Caleb underwent his third brain surgery in the same hospital.
She kept her composure Tuesday, even as her husband’s injuries were put on display, but sobbed as she returned to her seat in the courtroom. Others comforted her and said “good job.”
Robert and Arlene Holmes, sitting two rows behind their son, had no visible reaction to these descriptions of his slaughter. Neither did Holmes, who stared directly ahead. But Ian Sullivan, whose 6-year-old daughter Veronica was the youngest to die that night, fixed his gaze on Holmes, glaring intently at him from the audience for long periods of time.
In opening statements, the defense sought to focus instead on what was going on inside Holmes’ mind, which they say was so addled by schizophrenia and psychosis that his sense of right and wrong was distorted, and he lost any control over his actions. They won’t call their own witnesses or begin making the case for insanity until after the prosecution rests, many weeks from now.
Defense lawyers said Holmes was a “good kid” who sensed something wrong with his mind, even at a young age. Studying neuroscience at the University of Colorado was his attempt to fix his thoughts; Instead, “psychosis bloomed” when he failed in the doctoral program, and delusions then commanded him to kill, they said.