Yesterday, a newly released document revealed that James Holmes is willing to plead guilty to killing twelve people and injuring seventy others in the Aurora theater shooting if prosecutors agree not to pursue the death penalty.
What's the reaction of online Holmes fans? Well, there appear to be a lot fewer of them than there once were -- but those who remain don't necessarily see the plea offer as proof of guilt.
As you'll recall, James Holmes Facebook tribute pages began popping up in the days after the July 20 massacre at the Aurora Century theater during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. Today, the largest one to which we linked in a July 23 post no longer exists, and most of the ones that remain online are inactive and/or attention starved.
The same goes for Tumblr pages created in Holmes's honor, a number of which dubbed followers "Holmies." All of those linked in our August 3 post on the subject are now gone.
In contrast, the James Holmes is Innocent Facebook group continues to exist, and it boasts more than 600 members. However, the once-public collective is now a closed group, meaning that only members can see content.
In contrast, the James Holmes Open Forum remains accessible to all, and while some of its participants feel Holmes is innocent, this belief isn't a prerequisite for membership. Here's the description of the forum:
It is our goal to present and discuss factual information and evidence regarding the case of James Eagan Holmes so that people who frequent this page have access to up to date and relevant information.
This page was created to find the truth. Whatever that truth may be. Whether James Holmes is suffering from a mental illness, was a drugged up pasty, an innocent bystander, or a sadistic killer. Whatever the end result may be, we will strive to find the answer, the truth.
We will not tolerate unsubstantiated theories or accusations of any kind with respect to the case or this Facebook page.
This page is a page for facts. Facts about the Man, the Case, and the Victims.
It is NOT a place to vent your anger.
You are invited to come and join in the conversation. Share links and retrieve them. Please let us stay focused in our resolve for the truth.
Ask questions. Question everything!
That said, there is clearly sympathy for Holmes on the forum, as evidenced by the introduction's heading: "TRUTH HAS NO AGENDA!... WE WILL PRESS ON FOR JAMES -- NO MATTER WHAT!!"
How have members responded to news of the proposed guilty plea?
Prior to news about the plea offer, forum members were debating subjects such as mind control. Here's one post on the subject:
Although mind control might be far fetched...I feel James was working on something big, maybe super soldier, being able to live in a different dimension of the mind...did they use him? Did he do it to himself? Was he mentally ill and didn't believe in pills. His research on biomarkers...it is believed you can alter genetic diseases. Did he think he could fix himself? I don't know, no clue. The research I've done is mk ultra is linked to many large crimes and mass shootings. The eyes are consistently dilated. Movement is robotic. It is silly to think James was not working on something significant with his grant and knowledge. Did he make himself delusional? Is he a patsy... am I crazy? Maybe..but it is interesting all the same.
Then, yesterday, a member posted a 9News video about the new document along with the comment "Wow this sucks :'("
A couple of comments that followed:
There was a comment in the video that all 12 jury members would have to vote for the death penalty (if it came to that).
Yeah it's not looking good. I think a lot of people just don't want to see him get off easy.
Next came an unusual interpretation of the defense strategy....
Still think it's mental illness??
Let me ask you this.... WHY did the defense try to plea out PRIOR to the arraignment. Why did they offer a guilty plea in exchange for life way back then?
I'll tell ya why... cause boy o's not nuts! And the defense knows it.
...followed by this take....
The whole fact James Holmes was so against psychiatric meds makes it hard for me to think of him spending the rest of his life being medicated & locked up.... I would love to hear someone official give us a clue they see things the way we are seeing it too!
...and this one:
To me, this does not "prove" he is guilty...it proves that they don't want him to die, lol. The cards are stacked against him so high.... Still I would love for someone "official" to say something about the messed up stuff in the case....
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This reactions suggest that if Holmes does indeed avoid the death penalty and spends the rest of his life behind bars, he'll continue to be a subject of fascination for some people despite the horrific acts of which he's been accused.
More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "James Holmes is Innocent Facebook group no threat to survivors, administrator says."