AURORA, the United States, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Snapshots of the plans and personality of mass shooting suspect James Holmes emerged this week following the first testimony delivered in court since he was arrested five weeks ago after the Batman midnight movie massacre, local media reported Friday.
In a marathon hearing that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours on Thursday, prosecution and defense lawyers and Holmes' psychiatrist created an image of a distraught 24-year-old high academic achiever who had just "failed out" of school for the first time in his life, and had then planned the shootings and being incarcerated thereafter.
Holmes had a 3.9 GPA as an undergraduate at the University of California Irvine and was deemed an outstanding student prospect enrolled in the Ph.D. neuroscience program at University of Colorado (CU)' s Medical Center.
Holmes was so angered after failing his critical oral exams on June 7 and being told by a professor "to find another business" that he sought out CU psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton on June 11.
In court, Fenton testified she was so alarmed by Holmes' words and threats at their session. She told campus police June 12 and had Holmes' access card to the school cut off. At the same time, Holmes began stockpiling weapons and ammunition.
Dramatic testimony also revealed Holmes had joined a pornographic internet dating site just prior to the shootings and had written "come visit me in jail" to his admirers.
Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to persuade Judge William Sylvester to find the protected therapist-patient relationship between Fenton and Holmes had ended June 11, a means to obtain a revealing notebook they desire that sources say show Holmes planned the midnight shooting.
Postal and ATF agents testified Holmes had meticulously bubble-wrapped the package he sent just hours before the shootings, and had purchased a sheet of Forever stamps, perhaps another element of his planning.
Prosecution attorneys Rich Ormond and Karen Pearson both reiterated that Holmes perhaps had planned to be in jail, and the "notebook" was another of his plans to showcase one of the worst mass shootings in the U.S. history.
Holmes looked more relaxed and comfortable than he had in his five previous appearances, glancing around the courtroom several times and exchanging brief words with his attorney Daniel King.
Holmes also smiled for the first time in court when Sylvester joked to Fenton she was being excused from the courtroom as part of the "witness exercise" program.
Prosecutors tried to portray a pattern of planning employed by Holmes, which could negate an insanity plea and fall directly under the confines of "premeditated murder" which carries a death penalty if found guilty.
Leaked news sources say the package was opened and Holmes' notebook had written details and drawings of a stick-figured gunman shooting people.
Sylvester is expected to rule Sept. 20 if the notebook is privileged and will be returned to Holmes.
Holmes' defense attorney Tamara Brady drew a whispered surprise from the court room when she asked Fenton if she was aware Holmes had called a CU emergency hotline number nine minutes before the shooting started.
Fenton said she was not aware, nor had she communicated with Holmes after June 11 when she alleged their "relationship" had ended.
A gag order imposed by Sylvester July 23, three days after the shooting has impeded information about Holmes and the Thursday hearing was an eye-opening breakthrough.
Orman dramatically stated that on the night of the crime, Holmes went to the Century 16 theaters, "purchased a ticket, went in, sat down in a seat, left and propped open an emergency door" before going out to arm himself.
"He returned "armed with a shotgun, an AR15 automatic rifle and a handgun," Orman continued before being interrupted by defense lawyer Tamara Brady.
"I object, this is theatrics," she said, as the hearing closed.
More dramatic testimony is anticipated in three weeks in late September when the trial continues.