James Holmes found guilty of murder in 2012 Colorado theater shooting

The jury found James Holmes guilty on all 24 counts Photo courtesy the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office
The jury found James Holmes guilty on all 24 counts Photo courtesy the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

CENTENNIAL, CO (TIP): James Holmes faced two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 victims. The jury found him guilty on all 24 counts.

Holmes, who had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, showed no reaction as the verdict against him was announced. He stood at the defense table with his attorney, his hands in his pockets. He faced a total of 165 charges.

The jury also found Holmes guilty of attempted murder on all of the 140 counts against him for the 70 people wounded in the shooting. Additionally, he was found guilty of one count of possession or control of an explosive or incendiary device.

The gallery in the courtroom was full of survivors of the shooting and friends and family of the victims. When the judge read the first guilty verdict, family members let out an audible sigh. As the verdicts continued to be read, and people waited for the specific counts relating to their loved ones, family members started reaching out to one another — placing their hands on each others’ shoulders and backs in support.

A sentencing phase, which is expected to last about one month, is slated to begin next Wednesday. The same jury will deliberate during that phase. In 2013, the prosecution signaled it would seek the death penalty.

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By virtue of his insanity plea, the now 27-year-old Holmes had never denied he was behind the killings. But given his mental state, his lawyers argued that he should not be found culpable.

“The evidence is clear that he could not control his thoughts, he could not control his actions, and he could not control his perceptions,” defense attorney Dan King said during closing arguments.

King told the court psychosis had obscured Holmes’ ability to think about things the way a rational person does.

“Only the mental illness caused this to happen and nothing else.”

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