The Lookout

Colorado suspect James Holmes took creepy self-portraits hours before the theater shootings

Jason Sickles, Yahoo
The Lookout

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Sketch of James Holmes being led into court this week. (AP Photo/Bill Robles, Pool)

[Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. MT]

CENTENNIAL, Colo.— Photos recovered from James Holmes’ iPhone show the alleged gunman posing with weapons and making creepy faces in the weeks and hours before the shooting massacre at an Aurora movie theater.

The images were not released to the public, but were shown in court Wednesday during Holmes' preliminary hearing.

It was the state's final move before declaring that it had presented overwhelming evidence that Holmes meticulously planned and executed the attack without remorse.

"Because he wanted to kill all of them, and he knew what he was doing," prosecutor Karen Pearson said in arguing that the case should go to trial.

One of the more disturbing self-portraits was snapped on July 12. It shows his infamous orange-dyed hair flaring out from beneath a black skull cap. His eye color is darkened by black contact lenses, and he is grinning with his tongue sticking out.

Three other self-portraits were snapped approximately six hours before the movie theater shooting. In those photos he is also wearing black contact lenses and making various faces. In one of them, he's holding up one of two semi-automatic pistols he had recently purchased.

"He has a large, toothy smile," Aurora police Sgt. Matthew Fyle said from the witnesses stand.

In two others from July 19, he is posing with parts of homemade bombs he allegedly built. A final photo from July 19 shows an arsenal of guns and black tactical clothing sprawled across a red sheet on his bed.

A self-portrait taken on July 5 shows Holmes with orange-dyed hair and dressed in black combat gear with an assault-like rifle being carried from his shoulder.

Other photos recovered from Holmes' iPhone lead police to believe he began casing the Century 16 theater a month before the shootings.

Four photos taken on June 29, July 5 and July 11 show various interior and exterior images of the movie theater, including doorways, hallways and sidewalks.

Holmes’ lead public defender, Daniel King, did not present evidence or call witnesses during this phase of the case.

“I have no argument to probable cause,” King said. “This is not a trial.”

King said anything he would present would speak to Holmes’ mental illness, and this was not the time to do so.

Judge William Sylvester did not make a ruling at the end of Wednesday's preliminary hearing. He recessed the court until 9 a.m. MT on Friday when he will announce if the evidence presented is enough to move forward with a trial. An arraignment may be held the same day. If so, Holmes' defense attorneys could plead not guilty to preserve Holmes' right to a jury trial.

[Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. MT]

CENTENNIAL, Colo.—Aurora police Sgt. Matthew Fyles, who has supervised the Aurora movie theater massacre investigation, is scheduled to take the stand when the preliminary hearing resumes at 9 a.m. MT.

Prosecutors said late Tuesday that Fyles will be the last witness for the state. It is unknown if shooting suspect James Holmes' defense team will call its own witnesses.

The purpose of the hearing is for District Judge William Sylvester to determine if there is evidence to try Holmes on 166 counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Colorado allows dual filing of charges (essentially premeditated and without remorse). Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded in the shooting. An additional 13 suffered nongunshot injuries as a result of the rampage.

Holmes, a former neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, has been held without bond and in isolation since being arrested without resistance behind the theater minutes after the massacre.

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