The mother of James Holmes, the man who walked into a movie theatre, opened fire and killed 12 innocents and injured 70 others in Colorado has spoken to the media for the first time. She said she had no idea her son was schizophrenic until it was revealed at his trial.
Really? How can a mother not know there is something seriously wrong with her child? Surely there must have been plenty of warning signs? And as a registered nurse, wouldn't she have the knowledge to recognise someone with a serious mental illness?
Arlene Holmes is taking no responsibility for not addressing her son's mental problems and getting him help. Instead, she is asking for more education on mental health to prevent this horrific crime from happening again.
"I talked to other people about signs and symptoms of people who have problems with mental health and they told me it's been helpful so I want to share the lessons I've learned...at the same time I want to acknowledge that my son did indeed do something very terrible and it was a tragedy......many people were killed, many people were harmed and I want to focus, not on him, but on education."
She said James was a 'happy child' and 'had lots of kids over to the house.' But when he reached his teens, he became withdrawn and irritable. They took him to a therapist who suggested he was upset about the family move from northern California to San Diego. "Over the course of a decade, he got quieter and quieter" she said.
She hoped he'd grow out of it.
But there was an admission of sorts. "Don't try to do like he did and I did, which is to try and just keep going or solve everything yourself" she said. "Get some professional help, I failed to be educated and I want to offer up that failure as advice to other people."
She wrote a book about her thoughts and feelings titled When the Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes 2013-2014.
In her foreword, she says she will donate the proceeds of her book to mental health services. "This book is being published to raise awareness of the immorality of the death penalty - severely mentally ill people need treatment, not execution."
She also takes aim at the District Attorney's office. "Prosecutors, I don't know what you have been through in your life" she writes. "I do not know why you want to pursue execution of a mentally ill man. But I pray for you, so that you will find peace in your life."