DENVER – The mother of Aurora theater shooting defendant James Holmes writes in a new book that she prays for the victims daily, “by name and by wound.”
Bob and Arlene Holmes told the Del Mar Times about the book she wrote in their first interview since the 2012 shooting that left 12 dead and 70 others injured. In the forward of When The Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes 2013 -2014, she writes that proceeds will be donated to mental-health services, not to her son or his case.
“This book is being published to raise awareness of the immorality of the death penalty and the futility of seeking justice through execution,” she wrote in the book, a collection of prayers taken from her handwritten journals since the shooting. Holmes’ parents told the newspaper they still hope their son’s life can be spared through a plea deal, even as opening statements in the death penalty case are scheduled for April 27.
“The pretrial process has been lengthy, stressful for everyone and expensive; the trial will be torturous and lengthy, and the appeal process in death-penalty cases could last decades,” his mother wrote in the book’s forward.
The rest of the book contains prayers for prosecutors and defense attorneys alike, her feelings of guilt for not recognizing her son’s mental illness and getting him help, her experiences in the courtroom and reflections on her own struggles with depression after the shooting. She laments what she sees as a lack of compassion for the mentally ill.
In an entry from March 22, 2013, titled “Memories,” she wrote that her recollections of her son as empathetic and responsible don’t explain the shooting.
“My son never harmed anyone,” she wrote. “People think he is a monster, but he has a disease that changed his brain. ... Praying for good men and women engulfed in psychosis and alone with their disease.”