James Holmes's attorneys had argued that life in prison was an appropriate sentence

By Tara Fowler
Updated August 07, 2015 04:00 PM
Credit: Andy Cross/The Denver Post/AP

James Holmes, the man who opened fire in a crowded movie theater during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012, has been sentenced to death.

Holmes, 27, was convicted last month of 24 counts of first-degree murder. In total, Holmes was found guilty on 166 counts, including attempted murder and weapons charges.

Twelve people died and another 70 were injured in the shooting. Holmes’ attorneys had argued that life in prison was an appropriate sentence. To bolster their argument, they called his parents, sister and former neighbors to testify about his alleged mental illness.

But prosecutors said that death is the only sentence that makes sense in this case, adding that tears from Holmes’s family members don’t change the fact that he planned the attack.

District Attorney George Brauchler called on the relatives of Holmes’ youngest victim, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, to testify.

On Wednesday, Ashley Moser told the jury what she missed most about her slain daughter. “Everything,” she said, haltingly. “Her smile, her laugh, the way she was my little silly-billy. She was always trying to make people happy.”

“She personified a little angel,” added Veronica’s grandfather, Robert Sullivan. “There was only six years there, but we could see the seeds of great potential. She was a sweetheart.”

The jury of nine women and three began deliberations on Thursday afternoon.

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