Psychologist weighs in on Colorado shooter

We finally got to see the face behind the fury. While James Holmes, the accused gunman appeared in court, his demeanor and actions are only raising more questions.

Holmes was quiet and emotionless during his first court appearance. He's accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 during a shooting in a Colorado movie theater.

Forensic psychologist Cheryl Kaiser, has worked with the court system before. She says many times it's hard to tell if the suspect is treating the courtroom like a stage.

"There's a lot of times where somebody is going to appear a certain way in court so that they can garner certain sympathies or garner a certain type of belief system in what their affect is trying to demonstrate," said Kaiser.

Only Holmes can answer the one word question we all have. Why?

Kaiser says it's very dependent upon the individual as to what they're looking for and why it is they would do something like this in such a horrifying way.

"With this individual, because there's a strong belief that he was seeking attention and that he was seeking national or maybe even international news coverage, there were even a lot of media houses that are not even releasing his name," said Kaiser.

Many wonder if there were warning signs that were missed. Kaiser says with this situation it can be hard to detect warning signs, even for a community familiar with heinous crimes. The Columbine shooting, which left 13 dead happened in Littleton, Colorado about 16 miles away from Aurora.

"This is a community that would be very versed in what was going on because of the Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris situation.  But then we have this type of situation because it isn't possible for you to walk around the Earth and be paranoid of every single person who doesn't talk a lot or be paranoid of every single person who wants to keep to themselves. We can't really do that," explained Kaiser.

Until we hear more from the defense or the accused gunman, all we can do is speculate and guess about the motive for the shooting that's caused devastation in a community felt around the nation.

Authorities say Holmes is refusing to cooperate with investigators, and that it could take months to identify a motive.


More from Cheryl Kaiser's interview about the Colorado shooter:

Forensic psychologist, Cheryl Kaiser says it's likely the defense will consider a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

"Word on the wire is that the defense possibly is taking into consideration that they might want to pursue a not guilty by reason of insanity plea. If in fact they do that in the state of Colorado, what that means is that the presumption of evidence falls onto the prosecutor to demonstrate that he is in fact not insane, which is kind of challenging," said Kaiser.

And this first court appearance confirmed rumors that Holmes had orange-red hair.  On Friday, there were reports of his hair being red, and that he told arresting officers that he was "The Joker," Batman's nemesis.  And this could be a possible clue into what James Holmes was thinking.

"When somebody has difficulty with reality testing, that's going to be something that would fall into a category of possible delusional disorder, possible schizophrenia, they could be in the very heavy throws of a high level manic disturbance.  A number of different psychological problems that could cause somebody to have that issue.  But he could also be throwing the jury off on purpose.  It's possible too," explained Kaiser.

Holmes is being held in isolation at the jail.  He's expected to be formally charged at another hearing next Monday.  The prosecution is considering the death penalty.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.