A jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict to sentence Aurora shooter James Holmes to death, resulting in a sentence of life without parole.
Three years and 19 days after a heavily armed gunman terrorized a packed Denver-area movie theater, a Colorado jury has reached a decision on the shooter’s fate. James Holmes, who was found guilty last month of killing 12 moviegoers and injuring 70 others, received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The case experienced numerous delays, largely due to legal battles surrounding the gunman’s mental illness.
Arapahoe County Judge Carlos Samour read the verdict shortly after 5 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. ET.
As an anti-death penalty type myself, I view this verdict as the right one, particularly given Holmes' mental illness. Here's a statement from “Better Priorities Initiative,” a campaign to end the death penalty in Colorado:
“The Aurora Theater shooting trial jury handed down a life sentence today for James Holmes. This was a tragedy for Colorado, the city of Aurora and most of all, the many victims of this horrible crime. Mr. Holmes will spend the rest of his life in prison paying for what he did.
“This sentencing verdict shows that Colorado does not favor the death penalty. Like the rest of the country we are moving away from this broken system of justice that costs tax payers millions while doing nothing to make us safer.
“It is disappointing that the District Attorney chose to pursue death in this trial, prolonging the judicial process and costing the state both financially and emotionally. Taking a plea of guilty for a life sentence when it was offered would have lessened the notoriety of the perpetrator and would have prevented families from having to relive all the details of the crime in public over the past months.
“We hope that this verdict will begin to provide some closure for the victims and their family members.
“We are also grateful that the state of Colorado will not be responsible for executing someone with a severe mental illness.
“Capital punishment is a thing of the past. It is not a proven deterrent of crime, it is unfair and unjust and does not allow victims to heal. Life in prison without the possibility of parole is a severe sentence that ensures public safety and prevents years and years of appeals.”