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Mother of Colorado theater shooter breaks silence: 'I can't erase the day. But, I wish I could'

By
Marilyn Malara
James Holmes, the mental disturbed man convicted to killing 12 people in a shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater, appeared in court in 2012, shortly after the incident. His mother, Arlene Holmes, has finally broken her silence in support of mental health reserach. File photo by RJ Sangosti/UPI
James Holmes, the mental disturbed man convicted to killing 12 people in a shooting rampage at a Colorado movie theater, appeared in court in 2012, shortly after the incident. His mother, Arlene Holmes, has finally broken her silence in support of mental health reserach. File photo by RJ Sangosti/UPI | License Photo

SAN DIEGO, May 14 (UPI) -- The mother of Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James Holmes has broken her silence regarding the 2012 incident that left 12 people dead.

Speaking with ABC News affiliate KGTV in San Diego, Arlene Holmes blamed lack of education on her failure to recognize the seriousness of her son's mental illness.

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"These are things that people need to really hone in on, and don't try to do like he did and I did, which is try and just keep going or solve everything yourself," Holmes said. "You need the help of a professional."

Holmes, who condemned her son's actions as "horrible," said she noticed changes in her son's outlook when he turned 12 or 13 years old, saying "he was sadder than a child should be."

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After seeing a family therapist for a year, James Holmes descended into quietness, irritability and isolation, his mother said. He began showing signs of psychosis in his early 20s.

Arlene Holmes said she finally decided to speak publicly after three years as a way to "honor" her son's victims.

"If I don't deliver this message, I do dishonor the victims, because I think given this opportunity to speak to you, and I need to be brave and take the risk of criticism and go ahead and tell people: this is what he was like," she said. "I want to offer up the failure as advice to other people," she said.

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The appearance was also to honor Mental Health Awareness Month.

"I can't erase the day. But, I wish I could," Holmes continued. "And the way that I want to honor their injuries and their distress is to try and prevent something this bad from happening again."

James Holmes, 28, was convicted and sentenced to 3,318 years in prison on top of 12 life sentences last summer for killing 12 people at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight in 2012.

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Holmes was assaulted in prison by another inmate at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City early last year and subsequently transferred to an undisclosed maximum-security prison.

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