Batman massacre gunman found guilty of murder

 

 

A US jury found “Batman” theater gunman James Holmes guilty of first-degree murder Thursday over the 2012 massacre that left 12 dead and 70 more injured in Colorado.


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Judge Carlos Samour read out guilty verdicts relating to each of the 12 people killed when Holmes opened fire at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in the town of Aurora, just outside Denver.

Verdicts on other counts were still being read.

 

James E. Holmes, whose shooting rampage three years ago killed 12 and wounded 70 inside a suburban Denver movie theater, was found guilty on Thursday in a state court.

A jury deliberated for 13 hours over two days before rejecting pleas from defense lawyers that Mr. Holmes, 27, had a severe mental illness and was not legally responsible for his actions on the night of July 20, 2012.

The decision was delivered in Arapahoe County District Court after 10 weeks of testimony from more than 250 witnesses. They included survivors whose friends and family were killed, psychiatrists who offered contrasting views of Mr. Holmes’s mental state, and his former classmates from the University of Colorado whose memories of him as an introverted, awkward young man belied the armor-clad gunman who walked into the theater and started shooting.

Coming within days of the Aurora shooting’s third anniversary, the guilty verdict ends one phase of a grueling legal saga, but another one is now set to begin. The district attorney in suburban Arapahoe County is seeking the death penalty, and the jury will begin weighing the toll and nature of Mr. Holmes’s actions to decide whether to send him to prison for life or to Colorado’s death row.

As Judge Carlos Samour Jr. read the 165 counts against Mr. Holmes, the defendant stood silently between his lawyers, staring straight ahead, with his hands tucked into the pockets of a pair of khaki-colored pants.