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  • Criminology professor says interpreting any expression is subjective

    The Denver Post - 07/24/2012

    In blog posts, at water coolers and on websites, people are endlessly speculating about the demeanor of shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes in his first courtroom appearance Monday.

    He looked confused, sad, lost or exhausted, some said. Others thought he looked drugged, and wondered how that might be possible.

    Still others thought he was faking it, a method of self-protection as carefully planned as the his full-body riot gear he was wearing Friday when he was arrested after 12 people were killed and 58 others injured in an Aurora movie theater.

    “His appearance today was like a Rohrschach test,” said Jack Levin, the Brudnick Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University in Boston. “You could impose almost anything — thoughts and feelings you have about him — to interpret his expressions. He went from dozing to being oblivious to looking pained all within a couple minutes.”