There was never any doubt in the minds of jurors that James Holmes was guilty as accused. The madman who killed twelve people and injured 70 others during the July 20, 2012 premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, attempted to plead insanity for his gun crazy actions but was still held accountable for first-degree murder on July 17 of this year.Embed from Getty Images
After nearly a month-long of deliberation, the verdict has come down and unlike Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the jury has decided to spare Holmes his life and sentence him to life in prison.
Reports the Associated Press:
It took jurors only about 12 hours of deliberations to decide the first part — they rejected his insanity defense and found him guilty of 165 felony counts.
The defense then conceded his guilt, but insisted during the sentencing phase that his crimes were caused by the psychotic breakdown of a mentally ill young man, reducing his moral culpability and making a life sentence appropriate.
The jury’s final decision came after days of tearful testimony from relatives of the slain.
The case could have ended the same way more than two years ago, when Holmes offered to plead guilty if he could avoid the death penalty. Prosecutors rejected the offer. But the victims and the public might not have ever learned in detail what was behind the shootings had the plea deal been accepted.
The trial — featuring a journal where Holmes had secretly described his murderous plans — provided a rare look inside the mind of a mass shooter. Most are killed by police, kill themselves or plead guilty. By pleading insanity, he dropped his privacy rights and agreed to be examined by court-ordered psychiatrists. Holmes told one that he had been secretly obsessed with thoughts of killing since he was 10.
His parents testified that he seemed a normal, affectionate child who withdrew socially in adolescence and became fascinated with science but did not seem abnormal. Holmes studied neuroscience hoping to understand what was happening to his mind. But it was when he moved from San Diego to Colorado to attend graduate school that his meltdown accelerated.
Let’s just hope they make it hell on earth for him and he lives until he’s 89-years-old.
Photo: Denver ABC7