James Holmes, who is notorious for having carried out a gruesome mass shooting in 2012 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, has finally been found guilty of all 165 counts against him. Despite his defense team employing the insanity defense, alleging that he suffered from delusions that forced him to murder, jurors decided that Holmes should face the full force of justice for his actions.
Aurora movie theater shooting trial finds James Holmes guilty of murder via @washingtonpost https://t.co/3lWjE4dZkh
— JensenMaritimeGroup (@JensenMaritime) July 16, 2015
The 27-year-old, who faces the death penalty for the shooting, was previously working on a Ph.D. in neuroscience prior to the attack. In all, 12 people were killed and 70 people were wounded. One victim’s six-year-old daughter was killed and her mother became paralyzed and suffered a miscarriage, while another victim who was nine months pregnant had to leave her wounded husband behind in order to save her baby.
The list of charges against Holmes was so long that it took the judge nearly an hour to read them all to the crowded courtroom. The scene inside the courthouse was dramatic, as family members of the many victims vied for the opportunity to watch Holmes get convicted for his crimes. Sobs were heard throughout the courtroom as the names of the victims were read, yet both Holmes and his parents remained largely emotionless.
The guilty verdict, which came after only a day and a half of deliberation on the part of the jurors, marks the end of an 11-week trial. Now, the jurors will decide whether Holmes should face the death penalty for his crimes, an option that many of the victims’ loved ones continue to support.
According to the prosecution, Holmes had carefully planned the shooting, donning a full suit of body armor and sneaking in through the emergency exit in order to carry out the heinous shooting. Prosecutors argued that Holmes wanted to feel powerful after several failures in both his academic and personal life. They used his notebook as evidence of Holmes’s self-awareness, which contained indications that he was obsessed with the idea of killing prior to the shooting.
On Wednesday, Holmes faces the sentencing phase of the trail. While his defense plans to hold up his difficult childhood and his mental health issues as reasons why he should be spared from the death penalty, the prosecution will undoubtedly focus on the severity of his crimes and the amount of planning that went into the attack.