James Holmes sentenced to life without parole for Colorado movie theater shooting

Aug 7, 2015, 4:13 PM | Updated: Aug 8, 2015, 9:31 am
FILE – In this July 23, 2012, file photo, James Holmes, who is charged with killing 12 movieg...
FILE - In this July 23, 2012, file photo, James Holmes, who is charged with killing 12 moviegoers and wounding 70 more in a shooting spree in a crowded theatre in Aurora, Colo., in July 2012, sits in Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo. In a videotape played for jurors in Holmes' murder trial Tuesday, June 2, 2015, Holmes said that he might not have carried out the attack if his previous psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, hadn't prescribed him a drug that reduced his anxiety and fear, but said he might have done it later in life. (RJ Sangosti, Denver Post via AP, Pool, File)
(RJ Sangosti, Denver Post via AP, Pool, File)
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James Holmes, the man who opened fire in a crowded Colorado movie theater in 2012, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Friday.

The jurors hung on the murder charges, essentially sparing Holmes’ life by default. A unanimous decision is required for the death sentence.

The 27-year-old was charged with 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder, two counts for each person killed and two for each person injured. He was also charged with possession of explosives.

Holmes slipped through a back door at the Century 16 theater in Aurora on July 20, 2012, where about 420 people were watching a midnight showing of a Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and opened fire. Ten people died at the scene, two died at hospitals, and 70 were wounded.

Officers found Holmes leaning against his car behind the theater and arrested him without a struggle. Later, police found bombs and a Batman mask at Holmes’ apartment.

In an attempt to avoid life in prison or execution, defense attorney Dan King argued Holmes was insane at the time of the shooting, and should spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital.

The prosecutors, on the other hand, insisted Holmes knew exactly what he was doing and acted to kill.

Prosecutors called more than 200 witnesses, some of whom knew Holmes, who argued he was completely sane and did it to inflict pain and send a message.

Jurors saw more than 70 shooting survivors, some in wheelchairs and missing limbs, as well as a spiral notebook owned by Holmes detailing his intentions for the massacre and strange symbols.

Four psychiatrists were brought to test Holmes’ sanity and testify. Two declared him sane while the other two declared him insane.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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James Holmes sentenced to life without parole for Colorado movie theater shooting