CENTENNIAL, Colo. |  Colorado theater shooter James Holmes swapped dozens of electronic messages with Gargi Datta, his former girlfriend, in the months before the July 2012 attack.

Several of those messages released by the court Monday show the stress of their graduate neuroscience program at the University of Colorado, Denver, and display Holmes’ failures in school and romance, which prosecutors say were catalysts for the shooting.

Here are excerpts of the chats and their potential significance in the death penalty case against Holmes.


In a Jan. 25, 2012, message, Holmes describes meeting with an adviser who tells him to “jump into a pool,” meaning he should jump into discussions during class. Those who knew Holmes described him as extremely awkward socially and said he struggled in portions of his coursework that required him to interact with classmates.

“Science appears to have shifted from guys working alone in a dark room to some huge interactome,” Holmes writes to Datta.

Of his adviser, he adds, “He used to be anti-social, but he learned to be talkative.”


Holmes’ academic problems worsened by the time he sends Datta a message on Feb. 23, 2012, explaining he won’t be able to join a lab he wanted to take.

“The professor got pissed off I didn’t complete the main project,” Holmes writes. “On the bright side it will make the choice of lab to join easier.”

Holmes’ struggles continued until he failed a key exam and withdrew from the program in June, about a month before the shooting.


Datta told Holmes she wanted to break things off in February 2012, but the two stayed “friends with benefits” for about another month. On March 25, 2012, a message that starts out as a casual conversation about what to do on a Sunday afternoon devolves into a discussion of Holmes wanting to kill people.

Holmes says he is considering playing video games, but what he really wants to do is evil.

“what is so evil that you want to do,” Datta asks.

Holmes responds: “Kill people of course/That is why I live in the future.”

Datta testified last week that she thought Holmes was speaking philosophically at the time, and in the e-chats she doesn’t seem worried by his statements.

At one point she says, “killing people is too much effort, you’ll end up locked up/most people are not worth what might happen to you coz of the act.” Holmes replies: “That’s why you kill many people”.

Holmes appears aware of the consequences of his actions, saying, “There’s no way to do it and not get caught/But/ The only way justice can be served is by taking away your time or life.”

Datta asks Holmes why would “those people” be worth ending his life and how would he decide “that this is end?” He changes the subject back to video games. “Aight, you want play some dom?” a reference to the strategy game Dominion.