Divided CO Jury Favors Death Penalty For Holmes; He Will Get Life Instead


James Holmes will spend the rest of his life in a prison cell instead of dying in an execution chamber, jurors in the Aurora theater shooting trial decided Friday, reports the Denver Post. After deliberating for less than seven hours over two days, the jury of nine women and three men failed to agree unanimously that death is the appropriate punishment. That means Judge Carlos Samour Jr. will sentence Holmes to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murders of 12 people on July 20, 2012, during the midnight premiere of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”

One juror, identified as Juror 17, reported that nine jurors favored a death sentence for Holmes, one female juror was firmly opposed to the death penalty for him and two other jurors were uncertain. They realized there was little chance of changing the one juror’s mind, Juror 17 said. “The issue of mental illness was everything for the one who did not want to impose the death penalty,” she said. “There’s a narrow definition of insanity in Colorado, and we did not feel the defendant was insane at the time that he committed the crimes,” the juror said. “The thought that this monster gets to have visitation with his parents and gets to receive mail and pictures … is hard to accept,” said Sandy Phillips, whose daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was killed.

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