James Holmes Sentenced To Life In Prison For Aurora Theater Shooting

 

File - In this June 4, 2013 file photo, Aurora theater mass shooter James Holmes, who was convicted on July 16, 2015, appears in court, in Centennial, Colo. Even if Holmes is sentenced to death, he could spend much of the rest of his life in prison awaiting execution. Colorado has executed only one person in the last forty years, Gary Davis, in 1997. Just three people sit on death row in Colorado. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool, file)

News Editor, The Huffington Post
“Please, no more death,” his defense attorney had said.

“The death of a seriously mentally ill man is not justice, no matter how tragic the case is. Please, no more death.”

So said defense attorney Tamara Brady in her closing argument in the sentencing phase of mass murderer James Holmes’ trial, and after six-and-a-half hours of deliberations, the jury agreed. On Friday, the panel of nine women and three men sentenced Holmes to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which killed 12 and injured 70.

The news was met by mixed reactions from spectators, ranging from disbelief to a sigh of relief.

“It doesn’t make sense, and we don’t believe it,” said Robert Sullivan, the grandfather of 6-year-old victim Veronica Moser-Sullivan, in a press conference afterward. “But we have to abide by it.”
Jordan Ghawi, the brother of victim Jessica Ghawi, applauded jurors “for letting reason and not emotion” guide their decision. Then he contemplated what the state could have bought with the millions it spent on the trial.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler also expressed some disappointment, but praised jurors, at a press conference after the sentence was announced.

“As frustrated as I am in not achieving the goal that I thought was justice, what I want everyone who sees this or hears this to know is, those jurors did one hell of a job. These people sat there day in and day out, and they took in all the information, all of the horror,” Brauchler said. “While I’m disappointed with the outcome, I’m not disappointed in the system, or this process.”
The jury had to render sentences for 12 counts of first-degree murder and 12 counts of murder with extreme indifference, but they failed to agree unanimously on any of them, triggering an automatic punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Denver Post noted that it’s been six years since a Colorado jury last voted for a death sentence.

Brauchler also applauded the first responders who ran into the theater, calling them “heroes.” And Aurora Fire Chief Mike Garcia said of them, “The heroism you demonstrated that night will never be forgotten. Job well done.”

The emotionally exhausting trial saw 2,695 pieces of evidence presented and 302 witnesses testify over the course of 64 days. Nearly all of it was built around two central questions: Was Holmes legally sane at the time of the shooting (i.e., did he know right from wrong?), and what’s the appropriate punishment for someone who is mentally ill, given a crime of this magnitude?

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/james-holmes-death-penalty_55c3e0f8e4b0f1cbf1e47a40?ir=Crime§ion=crime&utm_campaign=080715&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-crime&utm_content=FullStory&ncid=newsltushpmg00000003&kvcommref=mostpopular

 

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