When James Eagan Holmes, the suspect in the Colorado movie theater shootings, enters court for the first time Monday, he will be taking the first step in a long legal journey likely to center on two issues: Is he competent to stand trial? And will prosecutors seek the death penalty?

James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University in Boston, said people who commit mass murders usually aren’t mentally ill.

“It takes a certain degree of clear-headedness to plan and execute a crime like this,” Fox told NBC News.

“Contrary to the common misperception that these guys suddenly snap and go berserk, these are well-planned executions,” he said.