Ex-girlfriend recounts how James Holmes sent message about taking lives

Updated 11:00 AM EDT, Wed June 17, 2015
02:20 - Source: CNN
Inside the mind of James Holmes

Story highlights

James Holmes wrote his then-girlfriend, "You take away life, and your human capital is limitless"

They broke up a month before July 2012 mass killing in a crowded movie theater

Court-appointed psychiatrist says Holmes was legally sane at time of shooting

Centennial, Colorado CNN —  

She was the girlfriend of James Holmes just months before he allegedly committed one of the worst mass killings in U.S. history, opening fire on a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

Gargi Datta recounted how Holmes sent a haunting chat message: “You take away life, and your human capital is limitless.”

As his capital murder trial completes its seventh week, here are five things we have learned about Holmes and the mass shooting in which he is accused of killing eight men, three women, and a 6-year-old girl. He’s also accused of injuring 70 people in the 2012 attack. Holmes, 27, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 166 counts.

Girlfriend from the college grad program

Datta and Holmes met in the graduate neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in 2011, Datta testified this week.

She met him at the program’s orientation session, and he later asked her out. She was attracted to him, and she just wanted a casual dating relationship.

They went to a horror film festival in Denver, with dinner, in October 2011. They started dating. They were also in biology class and then neuroscience class together.

“He seemed shy and quiet,” Datta said.

She described what seemed a typical college romance.

They saw each other once or twice a week, catching a movie or staying in to watch Netflix or play board games, she said. They sometimes went for a hike. He kept his living room and kitchen extremely clean, but his bedroom was messy, with clothes all around.

He spoke of a prior intimate relationship while an undergraduate at the University of California, Riverside, where he graduated with the highest honors in 2010. It was when he was a camp counselor, but the relationship went bad, Datta testified.

The breakup

She wanted the relationship to be casual and thought he wanted more than that.

When Christmas break arrived, they stayed in touch, though she thought about breaking up with Holmes, Datta said.

When they returned to school, they resumed their relationship.

At one point, Holmes told Datta he loved her.

“I told him I was not in love with him,” Datta said.

In early 2012 about six months before the shooting, she grew distant from him.

Holmes made an effort to have a nice Valentine’s Day with her, which made her feel guilty.

Later in February, she told him she didn’t see a future together and broke off the relationship.

“He wasn’t expecting it when I went over and told him,” Datta said.

Holmes didn’t get angry, she said.

But in March, they were friends with benefits, she admitted, suggesting continuing sexual contact.

Around St. Patrick’s Day, she was told that Holmes was referring to her as his girlfriend.

“Later I confronted him and told him I wasn’t his girlfriend,” Datta testified.

Prosecutors try to prove sanity

District Attorney George Brauchler pressed his effort to prove Holmes’ sanity at the time of the mass shootings by calling to the stand court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Metzner, who did an extensive psychiatric exam on Holmes in August 2013, interviewing him four times for a total of 25 hours.