( 4UMF NEWS ) James Holmes Sentenced To Life In Prison:
Jurors decided Friday James Holmes will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing 12 and injured 70 others during a 2012 attack on a crowded suburban Denver movie theater.
The same jury already had convicted James Holmes, now 27, for the attack in which he fired a handgun, shotgun and rifle into a darkened auditorium where fans were watching the midnight premiere of a Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. Under Colorado law, imposing the death penalty via lethal injection requires a separate series of hearings, and jurors had to reach an unanimous verdict for execution.
Holmes had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity before he was found guilty, and defense lawyers said he would have pleaded guilty if prosecutors had taken the death penalty off the table.
But Holmes made a calculated decision to attack the theater, District Attorney George Brauchler contended, spending months amassing an arsenal of weapons and explosives, booby-trapping his apartment and practicing wearing extensive body armor, all the while hiding his actions from friends and family.
Jurors spent 15 weeks hearing evidence in the case against the former neuroscience doctoral student whom prosecutors argued was upset about the failures of his personal and educational life. They say he killed to improve his self-worth.
The trial’s final days gave victims’ families the opportunity to speak about the lasting effects of the shooting deaths.
While Samour warned jurors about being overcome by emotion, a majority wept during the emotional testimony — punctuated by final witness Ashley Moser, who was paralyzed in the attack. She also lost her pregnancy to miscarriage, and Holmes killed her 6-year-old daughter, Veronica, as he fired into the darkened theater.
Brauchler invoked kindergartner Veronica in his closing argument, saying a life sentence fits into the shooter’s plan for survival, along with his body armor, booby-trapped apartment and 700 rounds of ammunition. In an interview with a court-appointed psychiatrist, Holmes said he believed his attack would cause people to remember him for decades.
“He planned for it, covered head to toe, fingers included. There wasn’t a millimeter of flesh showing,” Brauchler said. “He predicted it. He planned for it. He wants it.”
Holmes’ defense team had pleaded for mercy, which they said was “his soul screaming for help while his mind was drowning in illness.”
“Justice without mercy is raw vengeance,” defense lawyer Tamara Brady said in her closing argument earlier this week. “Ask yourself, do I sign my name on the death warrant of a mentally ill person?”
With the main chapter of the case closed, the gunman faces at least a decade of appeals before a execution could be carried out. Until then, Holmes will be housed in administrative segregation, locked in a cell for 23 hours a day but with access to television, books and newspapers, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Holmes, along with three others on death row, would confront the uncertainty of a virtual moratorium on executions imposed by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. The governor must sign a death warrant before the sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride are administered.
Hickenlooper has called for a public debate about the death penalty in Colorado — one of 31 states that allows it. Only one person has been executed in the past 50 years in Colorado, and the governor granted a reprieve in 2013 for convicted killer Nathan Dunlap. Hickenlooper said the death penalty is often unfairly applied.
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