SAN DIEGO — A criminal defense attorney hired by the family of accused gunman James Eagan Holmes says his mother was portrayed inaccurately by national media reports that implied she knew that her son was troubled.
Lawyer Lisa Damiani said her client Arlene Holmes was awakened about 5:45 a.m. PST Friday by ABC News. Damiani she was asked if she was Arlene Holmes, and if her son was James Holmes. Reading a statement from Arlene, Damiani said "I said 'Yes, you have the right person.' But I was talking about myself."
Speaking in front of the high-rise building that houses her office in downtown San Diego, Damiani declined to say why the family had hired her.
On Monday morning, two attorneys from the state public defender's office were appointed to defend James Holmes, 24, against allegations that he killed 12 people and wounded 58 others in an Aurora movie theater early Friday morning. An Arapahoe County judge has sealed records relating to the case, including financial records showing his need for a public defender.
During the brief press conference, Damiani deflected a volley of questions that ranged from the relationship between family members, to the relationship that James has with his parents and sister.
"The family would like privacy," she said. "The family wants to reiterate that their hearts go out to the victims and their families."
Damiani said that Robert and Arlene Holmes and their daughter have had tremendous support from the pastor of their church.
Although she declined to say whether the family fears for its safety, Damiani said "I have concern for their safety."
A scrum of about 30 reporters and photographers have been camped out in front of the family home in the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood of of San Diego since the killings in Aurora, considered one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history.
Holmes, who is also accused of rigging his apartment near the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora with explosives, is being held without bond in the Arapahoe County jail.