The Slatest

Aurora, Colorado Theater Shooter James Holmes Found Guilty of First Degree Murder

Movie theater shooter James Holmes during his first court appearance on July 23, 2012.

Photo by RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images

A Colorado jury found James Holmes guilt of first degree murder for the killing of 12 people in an Aurora movie theater in 2012. Holmes’ lawyers argued the 27-year-old was experiencing a psychotic episode when he went to a midnight premier of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises and began shooting, killing a dozen and injuring 70 others. Holmes’ defense team pleaded not guilty by virtue of insanity to 165 charges related to the shooting, but did not deny Holmes was the shooter. The jury disagreed after a day-and-a-half deliberation, finding Holmes responsible for his actions.

Here’s more from the Associated Press on the trial played out:

Prosecutors focused on the findings of two state-appointed forensic psychiatrists who examined Holmes months and years after the shooting and found him severely mentally ill yet capable of knowing right from wrong and therefore legally sane under Colorado law. Dozens of investigators testified about the carnage Holmes inflicted and how he rigged his apartment into an elaborate booby trap he hoped would explode and divert first responders from the Aurora theater as he set about the July 20, 2012, attack.

Prosecutors honed in on Holmes’ elaborate planning of the massacre. They showed jurors a spiral notebook in which Holmes listed what weapons to buy, which auditoriums in the theater complex would allow for the most casualties, and even an estimated emergency response time to the theater. Defense attorneys portrayed Holmes as a struggling neuroscience graduate student so addled by mental illness that he was unable to tell right from wrong at the time of the shootings.

Now that the jury has decided on a verdict, the trial moves to the sentencing phase where jurors will decide whether Holmes should receive the death penalty or life in prison.