Following the closing arguments from the prosecution and the defense as reported by HNGN, the jury in the high-profile case of Aurora, Colo. theater gunman James Holmes has decided that the former neuroscience graduate student is guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the massacre in July 2012.
But whether or not Holmes gets the death penalty or up to life in prison without parole is now in the hands of the same jury who found him guilty this afternoon.
After a three-month trial in which they were presented with thousands of pieces of evidence and testimony from hundreds of witnesses, jurors deliberated for about a day and a half, then found Holmes guilty on all 165 counts against him.
A jury has returned guilty verdicts in the trial of James Holmes, who attacked a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in a suburban Denver multiplex three years ago.
Two state-appointed forensic psychiatrists who evaluated Holmes determined that he was legally sane, despite severe mental illness.
The defense’s strongest witness was Raquel Gur, a nationally known schizophrenia expert who interviewed Holmes for 28 hours and said his thoughts about killing other people became an uncontrollable storm in his mind in the months before the shooting.
Holmes, 24, has confessed to walking into the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012, wearing protective gear and armed with an assault weapon, other guns and gas canisters.
Prosecutors argued Holmes meticulously plotted the shootings for weeks prior to the rampage because he had dropped out of his doctoral program, lost his girlfriend and lacked goal in life.
Holmes’ actions sent a shockwave throughout America and the entertainment community.
Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was one of the people killed in the attack, said as soon as he heard the judge read the first guilty verdict, “we all knew the dominoes were about to fall”. He’s now eligible for the death penalty.
They’ll have Friday off this week, as a pre-planned part of the trial’s schedule, and that means their third potential day for deliberations would be on the 20th, the third anniversary of the shooting itself. Twelve people were killed and 70 injured in the shooting. She recalled Cowden telling her he loved her just before he died. Young told the media she was a bit confused as to how she was going to feel walking into the courtroom, but after the verdicts were in, she simply felt relief.
Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty when the case moves into the sentencing phase.
Attorneys tell us you can expect to hear more about Holmes’ character during the sentencing phase.
Defence lawyers tried to present him as a once-promising student so crippled by mental illness that he could not reveal his struggles to anyone who might have helped.
When the audience of more than 400 people entered the theater, “they came in hoping to see the story of a hero dressed in black, someone who would fight insurmountable odds for justice”, Brauchler said. She reportedly declined to put Holmes on a mental hold before the shooting.
Jurors saw an investigator’s video of the shooting’s aftermath.
The verdict will be read at 4:15 p.m. local time (11.15pm United Kingdom time), a court spokesman said on Twitter.