A mother's intuition was not sufficient to stop the brutal murders of 12 innocent people. Arlene Holmes, the mom of Colorado killer James Holmes, is speaking out about what she knew about his dark side. Click through the gallery to read her shocking confession and to learn about when his life turned so "terrible."
James opened fire in a Colorado movie theater in July 2012, killing 12 people and injuring 70 more. During the trial, his defense attorney claimed that his client was schizophrenic, but the jury found him guilty of first degree murder. He is now serving 12 consecutive life sentences without parole.
His mom, Arlene Holmes told ABC 10News KGTV anchor Kimberly Hunt today, "I want to show respect for the victims and to let people know that the reason why I'm giving you an interview is because May is Mental Health Awareness Month. 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 that I've learned. At the same time, I want to acknowledge that my son did indeed do something very terrible, and it was a great tragedy. Many people were killed, many people were harmed, and I want to focus not on him, but on education."
Arlene, a registered nurse, said that she could never forget the victims. "They're on my mind every day, it's the first thought when I wake up in the morning," she said. "I'm very cognizant of how bad this all was, and I'm praying for their healing: mentally, physically, emotionally."
Arlene confessed to the San Diego news channel that she hoped by speaking out she could "honor" the victims. "I can't erase the day but I wish I could. The way that I want to honor their injuries and their distress is to try and help prevent something this bad from happening again," she said.
James had a normal childhood, going to the zoo, the fair and on family vacations, she revealed. "Through elementary school he was a happy kid, had lots of kids over to the house," she insisted.
However, the family moved to San Diego and James changed. "He was chattier when he was younger, and over the course of a decade he got quieter and quieter," she told 10News.
Arlene said the family saw a therapist with James for a year and that the family tried to have "more fun," and to "plan better vacations," to treat his unhappiness, but sadly it was not sufficient to ease his torment.
After opening fire during The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, James appeared in court with manically dyed orange hair. The trial uncovered his mental illness, and his mother claims that was the first time she heard of it. "My son had a diagnosis of schizophrenia," she said, "which I didn't know about until I sat in the trial."
James was treated by a doctor during schooling for his Phd, but his mother said she was not told about his violent thoughts. Arlene recalled that her son "grew quieter, more irritable and isolated," as he grew up, and she is encouraging others to seek treatment for their loved ones. "Maybe they can't tell you in words, so look at their actions, look at what's different, ask them to write you a letter even," she said.
"Don't try to solve it yourself. Get some help, some professional help," Arlene said about her convicted killer son. "This is what I have to offer. I failed to be educated and I want to offer up that failure as advice to other people."