CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The latest in the sentencing phase of the Colorado theater shooting trial (all times local):
The Colorado theater shooting case has wrapped up for the day after defense attorneys called a string of witnesses to testify about shooter James Holmes’ character and demeanor.
Family friend Dennis Bonnono testified Monday that Holmes was a quiet and polite boy who got along well with his sister and parents. Bonnono described Holmes as “just a great little boy.”
Ritchie Duong, who went to middle school, high school and college with Holmes, described him as a studious and goofy person who never got into trouble or tried to draw attention to himself.
Duong said Holmes “was never the type of person who would get mad. If he was frustrated, he would just cool off and leave.”
Defense attorneys are trying to convince jurors to sentence Holmes to life in prison without parole instead of death for the attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a packed movie theater in 2012. They say he was suffering from a severe psychotic break at the time of the attack.
The younger sister of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes says her brother’s eyes and overall demeanor were different when she visited him in jail last year.
Chris Holmes testified Monday that he responded to questions with one-word answers during the visit nearly two years after the attack. She says his eyes were “almost bulging out of his head in a way.”
Chris Holmes described a normal childhood in California, packed with vacations, but said her brother had a hard time finding friends and adjusting when the family moved to San Diego. She said she didn’t know her brother was mentally ill growing up, but she also didn’t know how to recognize the signs.
The jury is considering whether James Holmes should serve life in prison without parole or be executed for killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in a packed movie theater in 2012.
Defense attorneys say he suffered a severe psychotic break.
Chris Holmes, the sister of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, is testifying for the first time as his lawyers try to persuade jurors to spare his life.
Their parents have attended every day of James Holmes’ trial, but the family has not spoken publicly. The 22-year-old sister described family photographs displayed in court, including one of a vacation to Hawaii.
The jury is considering whether Holmes should serve life in prison without parole or be executed for killing 12 people and injuring 70 others at a crowded movie premiere in 2012.
Holmes’ attorneys say he committed the crime because of a severe psychotic break.
Before the trial began, Holmes’ parents begged for a plea deal that would spare his life. They said he is gripped by a severe mental illness.
A court-appointed psychiatrist who concluded that James Holmes was legally sane when he attacked a Colorado movie theater says Holmes’ mental illness still is what caused him to kill 12 people and injure 70 others.
Holmes’ lawyers called Dr. Jeffrey Metzner to testify Monday as part of an effort to spare Holmes from the death penalty. He previously testified for prosecutors that Holmes, despite his mental illness, knew right from wrong and therefore met the legal definition of sanity under Colorado law.
On the stand Monday, Metzner said Holmes’ actions were “directly related” to his delusions that killing people would increase his self-worth. Metzner diagnosed Holmes with schizoaffective disorder and said the shooting wouldn’t have happened except for Holmes’ mental illness.
The judge in the Colorado theater shooting trial has determined that jurors who heard about last week’s deadly shooting at a movie theater in Louisiana could still be impartial.
Twelve jurors said they had seen or heard about Thursday’s shooting through news reports or from friends or family but said they quickly turned away or ended those conversations.
One woman acknowledged that she “wasn’t thinking” when she skimmed an article about the Lafayette shooting that killed two and wounded nine. She mentioned it to her husband, who said he didn’t bring it up because he didn’t think she should know about it.
Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. rejected a defense motion to remove her, partly because she didn’t remember if she read about it before jurors were ordered Friday to avoid media coverage of events similar to the Colorado attack.
Testimony has now resumed in the trial’s sentencing phase.
Jurors deciding whether Colorado theater shooter James Holmes should be sentenced to death or life in prison are being questioned about whether the deadly theater shooting last week in Louisiana might influence them.
Holmes’ lawyers asked Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. on Monday to poll jurors about whether they had seen or read anything about the shooting that killed two and wounded nine others. Twelve jurors raised their hands.
Samour then questioned them individually, asking how much they knew about Thursday’s shooting and whether they had discussed it with anyone.
The defense is concerned that some jurors might want to punish Holmes for possibly inspiring a copycat shooting.
The same jurors deciding his fate convicted him of killing 12 people and injuring 70 in the July 2012 attack.
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