In what the Denver Post calls perhaps the bleakest day yet in the case against Aurora theater gunman James Holmes, dozens of people stood before Judge Carlos Samour Jr. yesterday and spoke of anger and injury and overwhelming, can’t-leave-the-house sadness. Two criticized the case’s outcome, which spared the life of the person who caused their pain. “The message is that the state of Colorado values the life of a mass murderer more than the lives of those he murdered,” said Kathleen Pourciau, whose daughter, Bonnie Kate, was wounded in the shooting.
That prompted Samour, for the first time, to speak up in defense of the jury’s decision and the trial’s fairness. “Justice was done in this case not because of the outcome but because of the process,” Samour said. When Robert Sullivan, the grandfather of the youngest slain victim, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, suggested that a juror had lied about her views on the death penalty to serve on the jury and swing the panel toward a life sentence, Samour dismissed the claim, saying there was no evidence of that. “I’m not going to allow that type of criticism to be uttered without evidence,” Samour said. “There is no reason to believe anyone on the jury was deceptive or did anything improper.” The purpose of the hearing is for Samour to formally impose a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Holmes.