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US theatre shooter James Holmes sentenced to life in prison

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Washington: James Holmes, who shot dead 12 people at a movie theatre in Colorado three years ago, has been awarded life imprisonment with no parole.

Holmes was on Friday spared the death penalty for killing a dozen people and wounding 70 more inside a packed midnight showing of a Batman film. He was found guilty of 164 counts of murder and attempted murder, Xinhua reported.

The jury announced the decision after hearings by 306 witnesses, including first responders, family members of the victims, and even the parents of the mass murderer.

credits: Huffington Post
credits: Huffington Post

A total of 2,695 pieces of evidence were presented to the jury during the trial which took place over the past three months.

Families and friends of the victims sobbed in dismay, as the jury surprised the experts by giving the neuroscience graduate student life in prison instead of the death penalty as many predicted.
Holmes’ mother wept quietly when the decision was read out.

Several family members of the victims were angry upon hearing the verdict.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr. said: “We the jury do not have a unanimous, final sentencing verdict on this count and we the jury understand that as a result the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.”

On July 20, 2012, Holmes, brandishing three weapons and dressed from head-to-toe in body armour, walked through the exit door of the Century 16 Theatre, which was showing the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” and pumped hundreds of bullets into the unsuspecting audience.

(IANS)

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Colorado cinema massacre: James Holmes convicted of 2012 murder

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Public Defender Tamara Brady, right, shows James E. Holmes documents as he appears in Arapahoe County District Court, Monday, July 23, 2012, in Centennial, Colo. Holmes is accused of killing 12 and wounding 58 in a shooting rampage in a movie theater on Friday, July 20 in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool)

By NewsGram Staff Writer

James Holmes, the mastermind of the theater massacre that rocked Colorado three years ago was found guilty of first-degree murder on Thursday afternoon.

On 20 July 2012, the 27-year-old walked into Aurora, a Colorado movie theater and shot dead 12 people while injuring 70 others.  

The shooter was dressed in riot gear, carrying three guns and more than 700 rounds of ammunition into the Denver theater during a midnight show of the the Batman film The Dark Night Rises.

“Initially charged with 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder — two for each person killed and two for each injured, Holmes was also charged with possession of explosives”, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

Holmes had entered a plea of not guilty by way of insanity during his trial.

The plea was refuted by District Attorney George Brauchler and the prosecutors sought the death penalty on 4 June 2013.

“He only stopped when the gun stopped… We know what insanity is… this ain’t it. He knew what he was doing when he killed those people. He intended to kill them. That was his specific goal”, the District Attorney said.

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‘Dark Knight’ cinema carnage: Trial of James Holmes begins

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Back in 2012, when Marcus Weaver was enjoying watching ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ with his friend in the Colorado multiplex, he had absolutely no idea that they would become victims of one mad man’s imagination.

As the movie-goers dug into their popcorns and sipped their colas, James Holmes, a neuroscience student opened indiscriminate fire killing 12 people while injuring more than 70.

Rebecca Wingo, Weaver’s friend was among the dead. Weaver was lucky to have survived the shot in his shoulder.

“As I sat down there in the dirt on the floor with popcorn on my face, I remembered people were stepping on my back trying to get out, and AR-15 bullets were whizzing past my head and, as a matter of fact, in my seat.”, he told Sky News.

“If I’d stayed where I was, I wouldn’t be sitting here and talking to you today. I was sitting on the floor and he just kept firing, firing, firing round after round after round,” he added.

As the trial of James Holmes gets underway, Weaver and other victims’ families are looking forward to a strict judgment on the massacre.

After more than three months, a total of 12 jurors and 12 alternates have been selected.

While the survivors of the onslaught feel it was a “calculated and heinous” crime, Holmes’ family, who will be present during the testimony, feel he was under the grip of a psychotic event.

Holmes’ defense attorney, however, is pleading case of  mental insanity and has been quoting from Holmes notebook, in which he cites being controlled by dark thoughts.

“When the psychosis really bloomed he was compelled, he was compelled to act. There was no choice to be made. Through his psychosis he felt he was possessed. There was no rational operation.

“This is about a brain disease, a diseased mind”, he told the jury.

The jury was also shown a series of threatening self-images taken by Holmes before the incident, to showcase his insanity.

Survivors like Weaver, however, feel the mass-killings were deliberate.

“Everybody knows right from wrong,” he said.