Taxpayers could have saved a fortune when killer Holmes agreed to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty over two years ago. They could have saved even more money (and possibly lives) if the theater wasn’t a “gun free zone” and an armed citizen could have taken him out…
Colorado theater shooter James Holmes received a sentence of life in prison without parole today after a jury failed to agree on whether he should get the death penalty, reports Fox News.
The nine women and three men could not reach a unanimous verdict on each of the murder counts. That failure automatically eliminated the death penalty for Holmes, who blamed his massacre of 12 people (seventy more were injured) on mental illness.
Prosecutors argued that Holmes deserved the death penalty because he methodically planned the 2012 assault at a midnight screening of a Batman movie. The defense argued that his’ schizophrenia led to a psychotic break, and that powerful delusions drove him to carry out one of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings.
The verdict came as a surprise, since the same jury previously had rejected Holmes’ insanity defense and found him guilty of 165 felony counts after only about 12 hours of deliberations. It also quickly determined the heinousness of Holmes’ crimes outweighed his mental illness in a prior step that brought them closer to the death penalty.
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. Four mental health experts testified that the shooting wouldn’t have happened if Holmes weren’t severely mentally ill. He was having increasingly palpable delusions that killing others would increase his own self-worth, said forensic psychiatrist Jeffrey Metzner.
The jury’s final decision came after days of tearful testimony from relatives of the slain. Jurors deliberated for about six and a half hours over two days before deciding on Holmes’ sentence.
Fox News describes an emotional courtroom scene:
As it was read, Holmes’ mother Arlene, who had pleaded for jurors to spare her son’s life, leaned her head against her husband’s shoulder and began sobbing. Tears broke out across the courtroom. In the back, Aurora police officers who responded to the bloody scene of Holmes’ attacks began crying.
Sandy Phillips, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was killed by Holmes, shook her head no and then held it in her hands.
Caren Teves, right, who lost her son Alex in the 2012 Aurora movie theatre massacre, sits with her friend Sandy Phillips, left, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was killed in the attack. (AP Photo)
Ashley Moser, whose 6-year-old daughter died in the attack and who was herself paralyzed by Holmes’ bullets, also shook her head and then slowly leaned it against the wheelchair of another paralyzed victim, Caleb Medley.
As in previous proceedings, Holmes himself showed no reaction.
Via: Truth Revolt