The curtains closed on the first and perhaps only phase of the Aurora movie theater shooting murder trial as each side summarized its case in 2-hour-long closing arguments, the Denver Post reports. Starting today, jurors begin deliberating about whether James Holmes is guilty of killing 12 people and trying to wound 70 more. If the jury finds Holmes guilty of one of the 24 counts of murder with which he is charged, among the 165 counts on which the jurors will deliberate, the case will proceed to a death penalty sentencing phase. If they find him not guilty, by reason of insanity or otherwise, the case ends there.
The jury of nine women and three men will discuss thousands of pieces of evidence and hundreds of hours of testimony to reach a decision. In a separate room, the seven alternate jurors, notified of their back-up status only yesterday, will sit and wait, like everyone else, to find out what comes next. In his final arguments, District Attorney George Brauchler said Holmes “came there with one thing in his heart and in his mind, and that was mass murder.” Defense attorney Daniel King said Holmes had told his psychiatrists he had thought about killing people, something King said no rational killer would ever confess to. Perhaps in preview of a possible sentencing phase argument, King spent an hour and a half of his two hours talking about Holmes’ mental illness and not about how it impacted his legal sanity. All four psychiatrists who examined Holmes after the shooting concluded he suffered from a mental illness in the schizophrenia family. “Accept the fact,” King told jurors, “that people get sick.”