DENVER – Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting case soon will retreat into an oversize room in a suburban Denver courthouse to determine whether James Holmes was legally insane.
They've seen thousands of pieces of evidence and heard from more than 250 witnesses, many of them wounded victims. The only question they must answer is whether Holmes suffered from a mental disease so severe it made him unable to tell right from wrong.
The terrible details of the 2012 attack and heartbreaking survival stories shouldn't matter, but experts say those details can make or break a case.
Valerie Hans, a Cornell Law School professor who has studied the issue, says it's almost impossible for jurors to consider an insanity plea outside the context of the crime.