The former neuroscience graduate student tried to jam a staple into an electrical outlet. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty. Defense attorneys say Holmes is mentally ill and have said they might call witnesses who could discuss Holmes' mental health.
He dyed his hair bright orange, then bought a scope and non-firing dummy bullets on July 1, the visit and the new hair color documented in security video.
Finally, he purchased glycerin and potassium permanganate — chemicals that could combine to create fire and sparks — from a science store.
It was just hours after a Colorado movie theater shooting, and James Holmes was not acting like a man accused of methodically planning the attack that killed 12 people.
As a police detective interviewed the suspect they'd picked up outside the theater, he started pretending the paper bags on his hands — meant to preserve gunshot residue — were puppets. The description came Tuesday as prosecutors try to show that Holmes should face a trial for the July 20 attack at a midnight showing of " The Dark Knight Rises." He faces more than 160 felony charges for allegedly killing 12 and injuring 70.
The bottle of glycerin was meant to fall into the permanganate when the door to his apartment opened, to cause an explosion and then a fire, prosecutors said.
The manager of The Science Company, Steve Grebe, confirmed the purchase, noting the amount was small and the materials are common in junior high experiments.