When James Eagan Holmes, the sus­pect in the Col­orado movie the­ater shoot­ings, enters court for the first time Monday, he will be taking the first step in a long legal journey likely to center on two issues: Is he com­pe­tent to stand trial? And will pros­e­cu­tors seek the death penalty?

James Alan Fox, a crim­inal jus­tice pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston, said people who commit mass mur­ders usu­ally aren’t men­tally ill.

It takes a cer­tain degree of clear-​​headedness to plan and exe­cute a crime like this,” Fox told NBC News.

Con­trary to the common mis­per­cep­tion that these guys sud­denly snap and go berserk, these are well-​​planned exe­cu­tions,” he said.

 

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