Because James Holmes is guilty of one of the worst mass murders in recent history, it’s not surprising that many Americans wish the worst on him. What we sometimes forget is that not everyone in jail is necessarily on the side of people like Holmes. So, news that he was attacked earlier this month isn’t necessarily that surprising — even if the circumstances are a little unusual.
The Denver Post reports that 27-year-old Holmes was assaulted by another inmate. The attack happened at Colorado State Penitentiary, the prison housing James. He’s there because it’s “the highest security prison in the state,” yet that apparently wasn’t enough to stop a fellow prisoner for putting his hands on James.
The culprit behind the alleged attack was a man named Mark “Slim” Daniels, also 27. Don’t be fooled by the nickname. “Slim” is about 6’4″ and 195 lbs, which means he’d likely pose a serious threat to convicted killer James Holmes if given the opportunity… And Colorado prison officials (and luck) apparently gave Daniels the right opportunity.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) October 24, 2015
Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Adrienne Jacobson told reporters, “The incident occurred during an offender movement.” She further explained that the attack happened “in passing.” James Holmes is in a Management Control Unit, where he’s “allowed to spend four hours in a day hall.” Holmes was being moved by a correctional officer when he happened to pass Daniels — who instantly recognized him. It was then that Daniels went after Holmes, hitting him a few times.
Prison officials state that James Holmes was not seriously injured by the attack.
What’s especially interesting about this situation is that the attack would likely never have come to public attention if it weren’t for Mark. Gawker reports that a letter was sent to the Denver Post by Mark Daniels, apparently detailing his attack on the infamous Colorado shooter. The letter claims that the attack, which has since been confirmed by CSP officials, took place on October 8.
That information aside, the exact contents of the letter have yet to be revealed. Because prison officials have not seen the letter, they were unable to confirm or deny that handwritten account of the attack on James Holmes was indeed given by Mark Daniels.
It’s very likely his letter is real for a couple of reasons. First, such a letter provides a chance for Mark to amass personal fame for himself — he gets to be known as the guy that bopped a hated notorious killer. Second, the fact that Jacobson has stated that Mark Daniels will be facing charges for the assault on Holmes and charges for assaulting a correctional officer lends serious credibility to the letter’s claims. It’s not impossible that someone else would go through the trouble of claiming to be Daniels specifically to get the word out the attack happened — but considering the particular circumstances, it seems unlikely.
If the goal of “Slim” was to get a bit of public recognition and congratulations from the general public for hitting James Holmes, then it worked. Social media lit up as the story went viral, with more than a few people wishing that things had taken a worse for the Aurora theater shooter.
— Matthew Koop (@Koop93312) October 25, 2015
James Holmes is currently serving 12 consecutive life sentences in connection with killing 12 people and injuring 70 during his Aurora theater mass killing in 2012. He was sentenced in August.
As for his attacker, Mark “Slim” Daniels, the man is currently in CSP serving time “for numerous convictions out of Lakewood and Westminster and Adams County.” Charges include “menacing, auto theft, assault and smuggling contraband into prison.” If Daniels is indeed convicted of the assault on Holmes and a guard, his stay at the state penitentiary could end up being extended quite a bit.
Social media reaction has largely been positive in response to learning something bad happened to James. However, that reaction isn’t uniform. Some people are saying that it’s wrong to celebrate mass shooter James Holmes being attacked. Others feel a man like Holmes deserves every bad thing that happens. How do you feel about this situation? Share your thoughts below!
[Images via Colorado Department of Corrections, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office / Getty Images]