Report: James Holmes Claims He Doesn’t Know Why He’s In Jail

James Holmes is apparently telling his jailers that he doesn’t know why he’s in jail:

James Holmes, the suspected shooter in last week’s movie theater massacre, has told his Colorado jailers he doesn’t know why he’s locked behind bars, the Daily News reports.

But no one at the Arapahoe County Detention Center is buying Holmes’ story, a lockup worker told the News. The jailers who come in contact with Holmes, who is sequestered from other inmates, believe he’s faking amnesia.


While in police custody, Holmes puzzled detectives who supposedly saw him using evidence bags as puppets, according to a KMGH report.

A jail worker told the Daily News in a previous report that Holmes wanted to know how the movie ended.

His courtroom behavior combined with accounts of awkward antics behind-the-scenes raises the question of his mental condition. Experts told ABC News he could be experiencing a genuine psychotic episode or foreshadow an insanity defense from his lawyers.

There have been other reports about odd behavior by Holmes over the week he’s been behind bars. Inmates who have been released from the facility since he arrived have told reporters that they could hear someone, presumably Holmes, screaming and howling at all hours of the night for the first several days he was there, for example.  And, of course, Holmes’s odd behavior during his court appearance on Monday have led many to speculate about his mental state. The fact that we know now that he was under the treatment of a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado to whom he sent a notebook allegedly filled with odd writings is further reason for speculation about all of this. Whether this is all an act as some of the Sheriff’s deputies apparently think or evidence that Holmes is truly unbalanced is unclear. It’s certainly possible that Holmes is a sociopath and it’s all an act, but it’s also possible that he’s as detached from reality as Jared Loughner, the man who shot Gabby Giffords. I suspect we’ll be hearing about mental examinations of the suspect in the very near future.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    doesn’t know why he’s locked behind bars

    I do.

  2. Vast Variety says:

    The odds that he is faking illness are very high me thinks.

  3. Carson says:

    If this is setting the court up for some kind of insanity plea, let’s hope that the judge will see through this and not allow it. I have noticed the trend in the last few years of the insanity plea being used more and more. Fortunately. most judges and juries don’t buy it and hold the criminal accountable for their acts. I feel that the insanity “plea” is just being used to get guilty criminals off and should not be allowed in criminal cases. It is an insult to those people who really have a mental disability because studies have proven they are not really dangerous people. It is evident that Holmes spent a lot of time planning this horrible crime. He also was going to medical school. Doesn’t sound like someone with mental illness to me.

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    I suspect he really is suffering from schizophrenia. Since we now know that he was seeing a shrink we will find out more in the future. The question is what to do with him. While medication can help there is no reason to believe he will continue to take the medication making him a threat to society for his entire life. Now I’m a liberal/progressive but I believe there are some people who are too broken to fix. Was he insane? Of course, only an insane person would do what he did. Should he ever see the light of day again? No! Do I feel sorry for him? Yes!

  5. Tony W says:

    @Ron Beasley: “I’m a liberal/progressive but I believe there are some people who are too broken to fix”

    Thank you Ron for pointing out the fundamental difference between a progressive and a conservative. As Stephen Colbert said “The facts may change, but my opinions never will”

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    He’s setting the stage for an insanity plea. Since I’m not a psychiatrist, diagnosis at a distance is not unethical for me. Mr. Holmes is a sociopath; the published reports show him exhibiting the classic traits. He’s decided he’s smarter than his captors.

  7. matt says:

    He’s a nutcase and as such an ever present danger to society. Lock him up and never let him out would be fine with me.

  8. Gail says:

    I don’t know why he is locked up either. They should have shot him where he stood. He will continue to make headlines and cost millions of dollars as the survivors and families have to have it thrown in their face for years to come.