Family stays silent
In San Diego, an attorney for Holmes’s family, Lisa Damiani, did not shed any light on the suspect’s frame of mind. “The family has elected not to discuss James or their relationship with James at this time,” she told reporters. Nor would his parents, Robert and Arlene Holmes, talk about their son’s physical appearance or demeanor in court, Damiani said.
Neighbors and people close to the family said Arlene Holmes had confided to friends that she was very concerned about her son’s social isolation and had sought counseling for him years earlier. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
There were hints that James Holmes’s apparently withdrawn nature was in marked contrast with that of his younger sister, Chris. High school classmates and neighbors say James tended to want to answer only yes-or-no questions and never spoke out on his own.
Chris, five years younger, graduated from the same local high school. But she was described by friends and neighbors as gregarious and outgoing, an accomplished musician who was a guitarist at school and had a tomboy streak.
Neighbors don’t remember seeing James with any friends, but Chris was another story, with her friends coming frequently to the family home on Sparren Avenue.
“She was very outgoing,” said neighbor Tom Mai. A few months ago, “Chris has friends over, and they talked until late into the night. I came out, said, ‘Come on, guys, why don’t you go to bed?’ It was 1 or 2 in the morning.”
Mai, a retired electrical engineer who lives next door to the Holmeses, said he always found the family members to be kind and gentle, with no signs that James was troubled by anything other than shyness.
‘Demonic or something’
If Aurora police are right, James Holmes has lived the past four months by a private script to which only he knew the horrific ending. He stockpiled bullets and bulletproof gear, and built bombs and a tripwire, all without anyone catching on.
But this is no longer his story. It may be a year before Holmes faces trial. On Monday he was led into the courtroom, then led out, and in between looked worn down.
Afterward, outside the courthouse, David Sanchez said he had seen evil. Sanchez’s daughter and son-in-law were in the theater Friday. His daughter survived without injury. His son-in-law was shot in the right side of his head.
Holmes’s eyes were what bothered Sanchez: “Demonic or something.”
“There’s something wrong with that man,” he said.
Holmes disappeared back into the courthouse corridors, returning to solitary confinement. Sanchez left for his own appointment: His daughter was expected to give birth that day, to a son they’d named Hugo.
He said they planned to tell his son-in-law, Caleb Medely — even though they weren’t sure he would know.
“He is in a coma, but everybody talks to him,” Sanchez said. “We always heard that you can hear.”
Leonnig reported from Washington. Bill Branigin and Sari Horwitz in Washington contributed to this report.