Saturday 24 June 2017

'Batman' killer to face death penalty after guilty verdicts

Cinema gunman James Holmes was found guilty of murdering 12 people during a screening of a Batman film in Colorado (The Denver Post/AP)
Cinema gunman James Holmes was found guilty of murdering 12 people during a screening of a Batman film in Colorado (The Denver Post/AP)

Keith Coffman in Colorado

Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes has been found guilty of multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

The verdict enables prosecutors to seek the death penalty for the former graduate student who killed a dozen people and wounded 70 at a midnight premiere of a Batman film in 2012.

After a three-month trial in which they were presented with thousands of pieces of evidence and testimony from hundreds of witnesses, jurors deliberated for about a day and a half, then handed prosecutors a big win.

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

Holmes showed no reaction as the lengthy, multi-count verdict was read by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour. The gunman stood beside his court-appointed lawyers, looking straight ahead with his hands in his pockets.

The trial now enters the punishment phase, when the jury must determine whether Holmes (27) should be put to death or serve a mandatory life sentence.

The defence conceded that Holmes was the shooter, but presented expert witnesses who testified that the former neuroscience student was not in control of his actions because he suffered from schizophrenia.

Irish Independent

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