One of many jurors in James Holmes’ homicide trial was adamantly towards use of the demise penalty to punish the person who killed 12 individuals in an Aurora, Colorado, movie show in 2012.
Because of that, Holmes’ sentence automatically defaulted to life in prison without the possibility of parole-a verdict that shocked, and in many cases, dismayed families of the victims.
The defense said his “aloof or distracted” demeanor was caused by anti-psychosis drugs that treat, but do not cure, his mental illness.
As a result, James Holmes will be sentenced to life in prison for the 2012 attack that killed 12 and injured 70 during the midnight screening of a Batman movie. “I imagine some of those jurors felt betrayed, too”. The former neuroscience graduate student stared straight ahead with his hands in his pockets as the judge read out the forms.
“We each had opinions on many issues and there were some that were more outspoken than others of course within a group”, she said. “It’s a tragedy”.
But she described the holdout as “genuine” and called the experience of being on the jury “life-changing”.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski). Sandy Phillips, right, who lost her daughter in the massacre in an Aurora, Colo., theatre in July 2012, embraces an unidentified woman as Phillips leaves the Arapahoe County Courthouse after a jury failed to agree on whethe… She began shaking her head and lay it on the back of the wheelchair of Caleb Medley, another paralyzed victim.
Some families in the gallery cried quietly or slumped in their chairs; one man stormed out of the courtroom. James Holmes, top left in tan shirt, looks on.
District Attorney George Brauchler said Friday that he was disappointed when the verdicts were read.
Holmes was eventually subjected to two lengthy psychiatric evaluations and the notebook was entered as evidence.
“This is a decision of the community”, he said. And he said that no one should fault the jury, because “this is a matter of extreme justice”, and its members voted from their hearts. “We just have to deal with it and accept it”, said Robert Sullivan, whose 6-year-old granddaughter Veronia was Holmes’ youngest victim.
Sullivan says Holmes is living and “our loved ones are gone” but the families of victims will have to abide by the outcome.
One juror later told NBC News that two members of the jury were “on the fence” about the death penalty but that another was adamantly opposed on the grounds of mental illness.
The state’s longest-serving death-row inmate, murder convict Nathan Dunlap, spent 20 years exhausting all of his appeals when Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, granted him an indefinite stay of execution in 2013. Officers find Holmes leaning against his auto behind the theater and arrest him without a struggle.
Holmes’ attorneys argued that their client is mentally ill and suffered a psychotic episode when he colored his hair orange-red, rigged his apartment with explosives, dressed in tactical gear and sprayed bullets into the theater under a cloak of darkness and tear gas.
Jordan Ghawi, whose sister Jessica was killed, took to Twitter to express his disappointment.
But while Belila said that he would have advocated for the death penalty in the case, “what separates us from Holmes is the ability to be rational and choose not to take a life”. Prosecutors later reject the plea offer. The trial was unusual because, from the start, Holmes’ court-appointed lawyers had said they were not contesting that he was the sole shooter. Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, meaning that much of the trial focused on his mental capacity during the rampage and on his behavior in the months before and afterward.