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James Holmes Found Guilty in Aurora Theater Shooting Trial

A Colorado jury has found James Holmes guilty in the death of 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in 2012.

by VICE News
Jul 16 2015, 10:25pm

Photo by RJ SANGOSTI/POOL

A Colorado jury has found James Holmes guilty of fatally shooting 12 people and wounding 70 as they watched a movie at a Colorado theater in 2012, rejecting the man's claims that that he was legally insane at the time of the massacre.

Lawyers for Holmes, 27, a former neuroscience graduate, argued that he was having a psychotic episode the night of July 20, 2012 when he snuck into a midnight premiere of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire on the crowd in Aurora, Colorado shortly after the movie began.

In court, his attorneys presented brain scans and diagnoses from doctors claiming that Holmes was schizophrenic and had a history of mental illness.

But prosecutors said the evidence failed to prove he was not able to tell right from wrong — the legal standard for an insanity plea.

"He wasn't insane," said Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, adding that two court-appointed psychiatrists had deemed Holmes was sane at the time he carried out the attack.

Jurors on Thursday agreed, after a day and a half of deliberations, on 165 counts against Holmes. The verdict came after a three month-long trial, during which several survivors took the stand to deliver testimony. The trial will now enter a sentencing phase where more testimony will be presented. Jurors will then deliberate whether Holmes will be imprisoned for life or put to death for his crimes.

The Aurora massacre was one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent US history. Authorities said Holmes was wearing riot police-like garb and took three guns and more than 700 rounds of ammunition with him into the theater that night. Police and prosecutors said they also found homemade explosives and incendiary compounds, gasoline, and napalm fashioned from Styrofoam cups at his apartment.

Among the dead was a 6-year-old. Some of those wounded in the attack, either by gunfire or injuries sustained while clamoring to escape, received life-altering injuries such as paralysis and brain damage.