James Eagan Holmes was just found guilty of 24 counts of first-degree murder, along with other charges stemming from the notorious mass shooting at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012.
Holmes looked tidy in a blue dress shirt and slicked-back hair as Judge Carlos Samour read verdicts for each individual count to the Arapahoe County District Court. Because there were 12 victims, and two counts per victim, it took several minutes to read each guilty verdict. Holmes did not visibly react.
Colorado has a very small death row and has executed only one person since capital punishment was reinstated there in 1976.
— Andrew Cohen (@JustADCohen)July 16, 2015
Whether or not Holmes was the shooter has never been a question. The jury began deliberations on Wednesday strictly over the questions of whether Holmes was guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity. According to a somewhat unusual Colorado law, when a "not guilty by reason of insanity," plea is entered, the prosecution is required to prove a suspect is sane, rather than the defense being obligated to prove them insane.
Four hundred people were in the movie theater that July day when the 24-year-old entered the auditorium with an AR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and two 40-caliber Glocks three years ago. All of his guns and his more than 6,000 rounds of ammo were obtained legally.
He was dressed head-to-toe in tactical equipment, including body armor and clip holders for easy access to additional ammunition. He had also dyed his hair red. When the police apprehended him, he identified himself as "the Joker."
In late May of this year, Holmes's bizarre personal journal was submitted into evidence. The book contained long, rambling passages, such as a whole page covered with repetitions of the word "why." But it also detailed his elaborate planning process for the day of the murder. The document was mined by both the prosecution and defense for insight into his mental fitness. (Multiple expert witnesses, including the shrink who spoke to Holmes shortly after his arrest, gave their own opinions.)
Attorneys for the prosecution and defense attempted to answer written questions from the jury as they deliberated. The jury apparently asked for a user-friendly list of every item presented throughout the trial, but since there were thousands of pieces of evidence—and indexing the material would require labeling it in a potentially judgmental fashion—no such list could be arranged.
Next the jury will decide whether to put Holmes to death, a penalty that the district attorney is reportedly pushing for.
Follow Mike Pearl on Twitter.