Prosecutors say James Holmes, the gunman charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 others during at a Colorado movie theater last year, set up accounts at two dating websites prior to the shooting, asking: "Will you visit me in prison?" And if history is any indicator, he'll likely attract a bevy of eligible paramours, much like other notorious U.S. criminals who have become targets of pen pals and so-called "prison groupies" desperate to make a connection with infamy.
Long walks on the beach may never be an option for Colorado movie gunman James Holmes, but like many infamous killers, he sought to line up romance behind bars — even setting up a Match.com account before his rampage, according to prosecutors.
Holmes, 25, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others during a shooting spree at a movie theater in Aurora on July 20, 2012. During a hearing on Monday to determine what evidence prosecutors can use in the case against the former neuroscience major, it was revealed that Holmes established profiles on two dating websites prior to the shootings.
In addition to the Match.com account, set up in April 2012, Holmes launched another one at AdultFriendFinder.com using the handle “classicjimbo” just two weeks before the mass shooting. Both accounts, which featured Holmes’ distinct orange-reddish mane, were last accessed just two days before the massacre. Prosecutors say that in his website profiles, Holmes asked: “Will you visit me in prison?”
Prosecutors have said they plan to use the profiles to show Holmes knew the shootings were wrong, striking a major blow to his insanity plea, but one author told FoxNews.com the profiles will likely lead to lots of letters for Holmes, who is facing the death penalty.
“He is the perfect kind of person to be a target for these prison groupies because he’s obviously savvy, he’s into the web and Internet dating,” said Sheila Isenberg, author of “Women Who Love Men Who Kill.”
Due to the enormous amount of publicity ahead of him, Isenberg said Holmes will likely be approached via mail by women also seeking infamy. And a low risk of rejection makes the potential match all the more attractive, she said.
“If someone is in prison for life, they have nothing to do but pay attention to you,” Isenberg said. “Lifers make the best, most committed boyfriends. They’re going to be totally devoted and committed to you.”
Isenberg, whose book was first published in 1991, said control is another major factor in the dynamic, as the writer on the free side of the prison wall enjoys all the power. Without exception, every woman she interviewed for her book was either sexually or physically abused during previous relationships, some during childhood.
“They wanted a relationship where they could not be hurt and they would be in control,” she said. “If a man is in prison for murder, he’s not going anywhere and he has to rely on you. You become his liaison for the outside world.”
Isenberg said she noticed the phenomenon recently at work again in regards to the cases of Joran van der Sloot — a Dutch man imprisoned for killing a woman in Peru and widely suspected behind the disappearance of American Natalee Holloway — and accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“In this age of instant information, these criminals become heroes overnight,” she said. “[Tsarnaev] has young girls with Facebook pages of him and others posting on Twitter about him, doing stuff in his name. We’re creating instant celebrities with the Internet and creating instant celebrities out of criminals.”
Federal Bureau of Prisons officials did not respond to a FoxNews.com inquiry regarding inmate correspondence, including questions on which inmate among its 119 institutions receives the most mail in a given time period.
“The BOP encourages inmates to write to family, friends and other community contacts to maintain these ties during incarceration,” the agency’s website reads. “ … Inmates may also receive certain commercial publications from the community. The BOP permits an inmate to subscribe to or receive publications without prior approval as long as the incoming publication is not detrimental to the security, discipline, or good order of the institution, or facilitate criminal activity.”
Inmate correspondence, according to federal prison officials, is classified either as “general” or “special” mail. General correspondence opened and inspected by staffers for contraband and content, while special mail is solely opened in the presence of the inmate and is checked for items like weapons or drugs.
Meanwhile, some of America’s most notorious criminals have been prolific writers behind bars, including cult killer Charles Manson, BTK murderer Dennis Rader and the Menendez brothers, both of whom married women after being incarcerated for killing their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion in 1989.
Manson, for example, began an ongoing correspondence with a Kansas man back in 1997, nearly 30 years after 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate was found murdered along with four other people at her Los Angeles home. At the time, Bob George was a teacher at Dodge City High School seeking a fresh, new way to teach the psychology of cults, the Dodge City Daily Globe reports.
George’s letter garnered a response from inmate Roger Dale Smith, who introduced himself as Manson’s secretary. Manson then began communicating with George via Smith, soliciting stamps and cigarettes from him. The teacher’s look inside Manson’s incarceration ultimately became a crucial piece for author Jeff Quinn and his book “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson,” which was published in August.
Dennis Rader, who captured national headlines in 2005 following his arrest for killing 10 people in Kansas between 1974 and 1991, reportedly established a number of pen pals once incarcerated. The former church leader later known as the BTK murderer cultivated a relationship with one woman from the West Coast identified in reports only as “Mable” and shared musings about his daily jail activities and his relationship with the church.
Other relationships built behind bars by some infamous U.S. criminals have taken a romantic path, including those established by Lyle and Erik Menendez, the brothers who murdered their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion in 1989. Both men — who have been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole — have married since entering prison. Lyle Menendez tied the knot with longtime pen pal and former model Anna Eriksson in 1996 before divorcing five years later, and Erik Menendez married Tammie Ruth Saccoman during a telephone ceremony at Folsom State Prison in 1999, reportedly using a Twinkie as their wedding cake.