Aurora Theater Shooting: James Holmes Found Guilty on All Counts of First-Degree Murder
The 27-year-old gunman faces the death penalty
James Holmes, the man who opened fire in a crowded movie theater during The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012, has been found guilty of first-degree murder on all 24 counts. In total, Holmes is guilty on 166 counts, including attempted murder and weapons charges.
Twelve people died and another 58 were injured in the shooting. Holmes, 27, now faces either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
It took the 12-member jury more than a day and a half to render the verdict. As they filed into the courtroom, they did not look at Holmes.
Holmes stood silently as the verdicts were read. He showed no emotion.
Before the verdict was read, Arapahoe County Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. addressed the gallery, warning them against emotional outbursts. “This is a public trial, and I want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable here,” Samour Jr. said. “But you must observe proper courtroom decorum.”
Throughout the grueling 3-month trial, no one disputed the fact that Holmes had opened fire, but the prosecution and defense gave different reasons for the shooting.
Prosecutors claimed that Holmes was sane at the time of the shootings, pointing to a number of instances that showed that he was not mentally impaired.
Holmes was charged with 12 counts of murder for “acting with deliberation and intent.” Another 12 counts were added for displaying “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.” The multiple charges give prosecutors more opportunities to obtain convictions.
“It’s a much easier way for the prosecution to obtain a conviction,” Denver defense attorney Peter Hedeen told the Associated Press. “They throw as many [charges] up as they can. If you think you can prove it three different ways, you charge it three different ways.”
The trial will now enter the sentencing phase. Jurors will hear testimony and decide whether he should be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole or sentenced to death.
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