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aurora shootings


James Holmes, who killed 12 people and injured 70 others when he opened fire in a packed Colorado cinema in July 2012, has been found guilty of murder.

James Holmes, 27, was found guilty on 24 counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder for the massacre at a Batman premiere in Aurora.

The man had pleaded not guilty due to insanity – his defense said he was controlled by his schizophrenia.

Prosecutors have said they will now seek the death penalty.

The panel of nine women and three men rejected the claim that James Holmes was legally insane.

Dressed in a blue shirt and cream-colored trousers he showed no emotion as Judge Carlos Samour took an hour to read through each of the 164 charges for murder and attempted murder, plus one count of possession of explosives.

There were two murder counts for each of the 12 victims.James Holmes Aurora shootings

During the 49-day trial with more than 250 witnesses, the court heard James Holmes entered the cinema in Aurora where The Dark Knight Rises was being screened, armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol.

There were 400 people in the screening when Holmes, dressed head-to-toe in black body armor, entered through an emergency exit and appeared by the screen.

James Holmes’ victims included two servicemen, a man celebrating his 27th birthday and an aspiring broadcaster who had survived a mall shooting in Toronto. Several died shielding friends or loved ones.

The youngest killed was a 6-year-old girl whose mother suffered a miscarriage and was paralyzed in the attack.

On July 14, prosecutor George Brauchler ran through an account of the massacre.

Referring to the cinema-goers, he said: “They came in hoping to see a story of a hero dressed in black, someone who would fight insurmountable odds in the name of justice and trying to protect others.

“Instead a different figure appeared by the screen dressed all in black.

“And he came there with one thing in his heart and in his mind – and that was mass murder.”

James Holmes’ defense lawyer Dan King said his client had “lost touch with reality” and said “mental illness caused this to happen”.

He had been presented as a promising student studying for a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Colorado, having graduated from the University of California at Riverside.

James Holmes had no previous criminal record.

His defense called a pair of psychiatrists, including a nationally known schizophrenia expert, who concluded Holmes was psychotic and legally insane.

But two state-appointed doctors found otherwise. They testified that no matter what James Holmes’ mental state was that night, he knew what he was doing was wrong.

The prosecution argued that James Holmes’ detailed preparations, including the booby-trapping of his apartment with explosives before he left for the cinema, showed an awareness of what he was doing.

James Holmes was pictured at his first court appearance looking disorientated with dyed red hair in an apparent reference to Batman villain the Joker.

Deciding on James Holmes’ punishment could take the rest of the summer, Judge Carlos Samour has said.


Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people last July at Aurora cinema in Colorado.

On Friday, prosecutors rejected an offer from James Holmes to plead guilty in order to avoid execution.

James Holmes, 25, is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the attack in Aurora, one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people last July at Aurora cinema in Colorado

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people last July at Aurora cinema in Colorado

Dozens were wounded in the attack at a midnight showing of a Batman film.

“It’s my determination and my intention that in this case for James Eagan Holmes justice is death,” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said at Monday’s hearing, which the accused attended.

James Holmes’ parents sat holding hands in the public gallery.

Victims and their families said they did not welcome the thought of a lengthy trial.

Pierce O’Farrill, who was shot three times in the attack, told the Associated Press: “All of us victims would be dragged along potentially for years. It could be 10 or 15 years before he’s executed.

“I would be in my 40s and I’m planning to have a family, and the thought of having to look back and reliving everything at that point in my life, it would be difficult.”

Last week, prosecutors argued that the defence motion for a guilty plea was not valid as a plea deal, but correspondents say such an agreement could still be reached before the case goes to trial.

James Holmes’ defence lawyers were expected to argue he is not guilty because he was legally insane at the time of the shooting on July 20.

But investigators say James Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student, had stockpiled weapons and ammunition ahead of the attacks.

James Holmes allegedly also booby-trapped his flat to explode, in an apparent bid to distract police from responding to the cinema during the shooting.

In March, Colorado introduced new gun legislation to impose limits on the size of ammunition magazines and expand background checks for gun buyers.

The law bans the type of magazine used to fire dozens of bullets in just a few seconds during the Aurora shooting.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Denver, Colorado, on Wednesday to highlight the bill as part of a campaign for national gun control measures in the wake of a mass shooting at an elementary school in December, in the state of Connecticut.

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