Therapist of Mass Murderer Reveals Disturbing Moment Before Killing that Landed Him 3,318-Year Sentence


A therapist who treated the man convicted of one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history is revealing haunting new details about James Holmes.

Dr. Lynne Fenton treated Holmes before he killed 12 people and injured 58 more in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July 2012.

The psychiatrist treated the then 24-year-old Holmes when he was a graduate student at the University of Colorado.

Fenton released a new book on her experiences treating Holmes last month. She told the New York Post about some of their interactions this week.

“Holmes had an odd, staring, bug-eyed look,” Fenton said of the eventual murderer.

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Fenton, a director of student mental health at the university, saw Holmes seven times in the months before the shooting.

The eventual killer demonstrated antisocial tendencies in their sessions, including their first meeting, when he stood up to face her as she entered but flatly ignored a handshake from the psychiatrist.

Holmes ended his psychiatric treatment with Fenton in a disturbing manner that worried the psychiatrist.

“He stood up like a soldier, looked at the exit door and left with a stiff gait. I had a bad feeling about him, a concern that something would go wrong,” she wrote, according to the Post.

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Holmes expressed his homicidal thoughts to Fenton, but never expressed any specific plans.

“He said he had thoughts of killing people,” she wrote, according to the Post. “He said it as a vague and bland statement. I asked if he had any particular targets, but he didn’t reveal any to me. I could not get him to say he was angry about a person or a group of people.”

“The threats seemed vague enough to not warrant following up,” Fenton said.

Fenton considered placing Holmes under a mandatory 72-hour mental health hold in a hospital, but concluded he didn’t meet the criteria for forcible hospitalization.

“I contemplated a mental-health hold during every visit. But he did not qualify,” she wrote.

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Holmes’ case was concerning enough that Fenton considered breaking HIPPA — the federal law that prevents doctors from sharing patient’s medical information with third parties.

Fenton described learning that her patient was responsible for the Aurora movie theater massacre as a “psychiatrist’s nightmare.”

The doctor was barraged with a deluge of threats and negative voicemails after the shooting, with some blaming her for what happened. Fenton began wearing a bulletproof vest a month after the shooting and became cautious about appearing in public.

Holmes narrowly avoided the death penalty in his trial, but received one of the lengthiest prison sentences in American history. In addition to 12 life sentences, Judge Carlos Samour sentenced him to 3,318 years in prison with no possibility of parole, according to the Denver Post.

One holdout juror was reportedly instrumental in sparing him the death penalty. Holmes’ attorneys argued that his mental disorders made the death penalty an unfair punishment.

Another psychiatrist tasked with assessing Holmes for his trial diagnosed him with schizotypal personality disorder, according to CNN.

Yet another doctor who treated Holmes diagnosed him with schizoaffective disorder, according to the Denver Post.

Both conditions are related to schizophrenia, but psychiatrists consider the latter more severe than the former.

Holmes described increasing his own “life capital” through his killings in the shootings, describing the massacre as a “mission” to enhance his own self-worth.

Speaking at the trial, Dr. William Reid testified that Holmes was culpable for his actions in the shooting, even though he was mentally ill.

Holmes has been transferred from Colorado custody to a federal prison due to safety concerns. He’s currently incarcerated at USP Allenwood in Pennsylvania.

Fenton doesn’t feel sympathy for her former patient.

“I wish he received the death sentence,” the doctor said. “He deserved it.”

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