Sentencing moves forward: Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes could face execution

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James Holmes, Photo courtesy of FOX31

CENTENNIAL, Colorado — A man convicted of murdering a dozen people and wounding 70 others inside a Colorado movie theater could face the death penalty.

On Monday, jurors announced that they had agreed on how to move forward with the sentence for convicted mass murderer James Holmes.

Under Colorado law, the jury can move death penalty proceedings forward to a third phase, or end the death penalty deliberations and sentence Holmes to life in prison without parole.

On Monday, jurors chose to move the death penalty proceedings forward to the third phase.

Holmes was convicted of 24 counts of murder in the first degree — two for each victim in July.

Jurors began deliberating Thursday on the second phase of how to proceed with sentencing.

Prosecutors had argued that the jury should continue to death penalty proceedings which would be a final, third phase under Colorado law. Holmes’ attorneys urged the jury to give Holmes a life sentence and end the months-long trial.

His attorneys have said that his schizophrenia mitigated the capital crimes for which he was convicted.

Holmes had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and when the jury declared his guilt, he showed no reaction.

By virtue of his insanity plea, Holmes never denied he was responsible for the slayings.

Three dozen witnesses have testified during this sentencing phase, including James Holmes’ parents and sister.

 

 

Holmes opened fire upon a crowded movie theater just after midnight on July 20, 2012, as the audience watched the new Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado.

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