"Walking Down Death Row," the eerily titled song by James Holmes's sister
The face is pretty unmistakable: The features look strikingly similar to the now iconic visage that's been burned into our collective consciousness over the past ten days. But this face doesn't belong to the person alleged to have shot seventy people at an Aurora movie theater just after midnight on July 20. This one belongs to a promising San Diego-based singer/songwriter named Chris Holmes, who just happens to share a surname -- and a gene pool -- with a suspected mass murderer: James Holmes, who'll be back in Arapahoe County District Court this morning.
For all the coverage of the crime, we know relatively little about him; the legal file has been sealed. But from media reports, we have gleaned some details of his background: James Holmes was born in 1987 in Southern California, attended school in San Diego before moving to Riverside to earn his undergrad degree and, most recently, he was pursuing an advanced degree at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in an elite neuroscience program from which he was in the process of dis-enrolling.
What's more, his late grandfather was a lieutenant colonel and World War II veteran, and there's reason to believe that his late grandmother was a direct descendant of the Mayflower pilgrims. His parents, Robert and Arlene Holmes, have respectable, if unremarkable jobs: He's a lead scientist specializing in fraud control for a California-based software company, and she's a nurse.
Holmes's semi-reclusive life included seemingly zero social media presence -- he's conspicuously absent online, with the exception of reported pages on dating and sex sites. But his sister Chris, five years his junior, is not. Reportedly a student at San Diego State University, she has a notable online presence, including a still-active Facebook page dedicated to her music. And as a musician, she's actually quite talented. Although an original singer/songwriter, like many folks with similar aspirations, Chris gained a bit of notoriety (more than 5K subscribers and two million views) by filming herself covering other artists' songs and posting them to her YouTube page -- which has since been scrubbed.
From the sounds of it, though, no such gimmickry was really needed. Chris has a better-than-average voice and knows her way around a melody. In fact, if she lived in Denver, it's doubtful she'd have any problems finding an audience -- that is, if she lived here and her brother wasn't James Holmes.
While her Reverbnation page seems to be as abandoned now as her YouTube page, Chris still has some songs and videos floating around online, including one tune in particular with a title that seems especially poignant in light of the horrific events that have transpired recently. While the song appears to have been posted at least a couple years ago, "Walking on Death Row" seems eerily prescient, and the words are chilling:
He always thinks better on the road
than somewhere all alone
not 'til redemption's home
and it's all his fault
Walking down death row
I see bright lights down below
Walking down death row
I'm praying to God, "Please save my soul"
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