PHOENIX -- James Holmes, the lone suspect in the Colorado movie massacre, often appeared dazed in his initial court appearance Monday.
At other times he appeared to be looking down and would briefly close his eyes. That behavior has some attorneys speculating that Holmes' defense lawyer will put forth an insanity defense.
“I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was mental illness in this case, but there's a big difference in the criminal justice system between mental illness and insanity,” said Phoenix criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Mike Bailey. “It's a pretty tough defense to make. You have to show that the person committing the crime didn't know right from wrong.”
Holmes' courtroom behavior may act as a window into his mindset, demonstrating whether he actually knew right from wrong, according to body language expert Renate Mousseux.
“He has his eyes wide open, like a crazed look,” said Mousseux, who noted that his facial expressions would stretch on for 20 to 30 seconds. “But research has proven that eye movements and emotions are between five and 10 seconds at most. So what that means is he was looking into the camera with his crazed look for much longer than 10 seconds.”
Based on analysis of Holmes' body language at his court appearance, Mousseux believes that Holmes was very aware of what he was doing.
“His look is not an honest one. It is a put-on ... he's faking it,” Mousseux said.
If he was faking his facial expressions, that could actually be good for the prosecution.
“There are so many things that can go in for the prosecution to prove he did know right from wrong,” Bailey said.
That would mean an insanity defense would be difficult.
“It's going to be very tough not just because of the clear evidence, but also the magnitude and horrific nature of the entire crime,” Bailey said.