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Prosecutors: Like other infamous killers, Holmes courting prison groupies

Long walks on the beach may never be an option for Colorado movie gunman James Holmes, but like many infamous killers, he wants romance behind bars and even set up a account before his rampage, according to prosecutors.

Holmes, 25, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others during a shooting spree at a movie theater in Aurora on July 20, 2012. During a hearing on Monday to determine what evidence prosecutors can use in the case against the former neuroscience major, it was revealed that Holmes established profiles on two dating websites prior to the shootings.

In addition to the account, set up in April 2012, Holmes launched another one at using the handle "classicjimbo" just two weeks before the mass shooting. Both accounts, which featured Holmes' distinct orange-reddish mane, were last accessed just two days before the massacre. Prosecutors say that in his website profiles, Holmes asked, "Will you visit me in prison?"

Prosecutors have said they plan to use the profiles to show Holmes knew the shootings were wrong, striking a major blow to his insanity plea, but one author told the profiles will likely lead to lots of letters for Holmes, who is facing the death penalty.

"He is the perfect kind of person to be a target for these prison groupies because he's obviously savvy, he's into the web and Internet dating," said Sheila Isenberg, author of "Women Who Love Men Who Kill."

Due to the enormous amount of publicity ahead of him, Isenberg said Holmes will likely be approached via mail by women also seeking infamy. And a low risk of rejection makes the potential match all the more attractive, she said.

"If someone is in prison for life, they have nothing to do but pay attention to you," Isenberg said. "Lifers make the best, most committed boyfriends. They're going to be totally devoted and committed to you."

Isenberg, whose book was first published in 1991, said control is another major factor in the dynamic, as the writer on the free side of the prison wall enjoys all the power. Without exception, every woman she interviewed for her book was either sexually or physically abused during previous relationships, some during childhood.

"They wanted a relationship where they could not be hurt and they would be in control," she said. "If a man is in prison for murder, he's not going anywhere and he has to rely on you. You become his liaison for the outside world."

Isenberg said she noticed the phenomenon recently at work again in regards to the cases of Joran van der Sloot - a Dutch man imprisoned for killing a woman in Peru and widely suspected behind the disappearance of American Natalee Holloway - and accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

"In this age of instant information, these criminals become heroes overnight," she said. "Tsarnev has young girls with Facebook pages of him and others posting on Twitter about him, doing stuff in his name. We're creating instant celebrities with the Internet and creating instant celebrities out of criminals."

Federal Bureau of Prisons officials did not respond to a inquiry regarding inmate correspondence, including questions on which inmate among its 119 institutions receives the most mail in a given time period.

"The BOP encourages inmates to write to family, friends and other community contacts to maintain these ties during incarceration," the agency's website reads. " … Inmates may also receive certain commercial publications from the community. The BOP permits an inmate to subscribe to or receive publications without prior approval as long as the incoming publication is not detrimental to the security, discipline, or good order of the institution, or facilitate criminal activity."

Inmate correspondence, according to federal prison officials, is classified either as "general" or "special" mail. General correspondence opened and inspected by staffers for contraband and content, while special mail is solely opened in the presence of the inmate and is checked for items like weapons or drugs.




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