Over two years ago, now 27 year old James Holmes, who at the time had absolutely no criminal history whatsoever, entered Aurora, Colorado's Century movie theater during a midnight premiere of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises and shot down 12 people and injured another 70.
With his trial coming up on January 20th, parents Robert and Arlene Holmes have spoken out for their son, claiming that he is not the monster many have claimed him to be, but rather he is a "human being gripped by a severe mental illness."
In an op-ed piece written to the Denver Post, James' parents lament the injuries and deaths their son caused that fateful night and understand that many want to see James executed for what he has done. His actions were gruesome and have caused permanent scars in the lives of many families. Nevertheless, Robert and Arlene believe that their son's actions were a result of a severe mental illness and that the right course of action would be to institutionalize James so that he may receive proper treatment.
The Holmeses also point out that institutionalizing their son would prevent a "lengthy trial [that would] require everyone to relive those horrible moments in time, causing additional trauma." If institutionalization is not a viable option, the next best option according to the Holmeses would be for James to plead guilty and receive life in prison without parole. Although he would spend the rest of his natural life incarcerated, James would remain alive but would no longer be a threat to anyone else's life.
Because Robert and Arlene Holmes "do not want coverage of [them]selves," this op-ed has been their first public statement since the shooting occurred. They both continue to pray for the victims of the tragic shooting and ardently "wish that July 20, 2012 never happened..."