Holmes appeared in court recently looking like an entirely different person than the man who committed the shooting. (Photo : Reuters)
As James Holmes awaits trial for the 166 charges stemming from his mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. last year, the shooter may have converted to Islam as a way to justify his reprehensible actions, some of his fellow inmates are claiming.
Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder from the infamous day last July when he stormed the Century 16 theaters in Aurora during a screening of "The Dark Knight" and fatally shot 12 people, and injured another 70.
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Holmes appeared in court recently looking like an entirely different person than the man who committed the shooting. No longer clean shaven, he arrived at proceedings with a bulging, bushy beard and an unkempt tangle of hair. A fellow prisoner of Holmes claimed that the new look was symbolic of his recent conversion to Islam, according to The Daily Mail. Holmes has apparently adopted Islam as a way to justify his ghastly acts in Aurora. He now prays five times a day and spends hours tirelessly studying the Qur'an.
"He has brainwashed himself into believing he was on his own personal jihad and that his victims were infidels," the prison source said, according to The Daily Mail.
Other Muslim inmates aren't too happy with Holmes' new found faith in Islam.
"None of them condone forms of terrorism or extremism," the source said. "And they don't want their religion to be connected to that awful shooting."
Holmes will have a long time to get aquatinted with his new before court proceedings begin in his case. He won't go to trial until August 5.
Recently, at an initial hearing in the case, Holmes' lawyer told the judge that his client still wasn't ready to enter a plea, despite several trial delays. To get proceedings under way, Judge William Sylvester entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf, and said that Holmes could later change the plea to not guilt by reason of insanity of he so chose. In the event Holmes decides to make the change in his plea, Judge Sylvester ruled that prosecuting attorneys would be allowed to question him while he is "under the influence" of a truth serum, according to CBS News. The belief being that this kind of "narcoanalytic interview" could be used to determine if Holmes was legally insane when he went on the rampage July, 20 2012.
The exact "truth serum" drug authorities would administer has yet to be announced, aside from a statement that the substance would be "medically appropriate," The Guardian reported. Legal experts suspect the drug most likely to be used for loosening up Holmes to talk would be a "short-acting barbiturate such as sodium amytal."
Courts rarely allow the use of any kind of "truth serum" in trials. According to The Guardian, their implementation has been sparse since they were first introduced in the 1950s, and have always been a polarizing subject of debate among U.S. legal authorities.
Prosecutors have not commented if they will seek the death penalty, but will announce their plans on April 1.