Jurors Spare Life of James Holmes

They deliberate 7 hours, fail to agree on death penalty
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 7, 2015 6:15 PM CDT
James Holmes Gets Life to Prison
A 2013 court photo of James Holmes.   (Andy Cross/The Denver Post via AP, Pool, File)

Jurors spared the life of James Holmes today: He will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of execution for his rampage in a Colorado movie theater, reports USA Today. The nine women and three men on the jury deliberated about seven hours over two days in this third and final phase of the trial. Because they did not come to a unanimous decision about the death penalty, Holmes will get the life sentence. His mother, Arlene, sobbed as the decision was announced, reports the Denver Post. Sandy Phillips, whose daughter was killed, shook her head "no" and also cried, reports AP.

"The death penalty doesn't bring anyone back," said defense attorney Tamara Brady in her closing arguments. "It doesn't make anyone feel better. It just adds to the death count." Her argument won the day over that of Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, who told jurors that for Holmes, "justice is death." Earlier, jurors had asked the judge for a TV to watch gruesome video of the crime scene before the victims were removed. Holmes killed 12 and injured 70 in his assault on the Aurora theater in July 2012. His defense team had argued that Holmes was mentally ill, but jurors earlier rejected that and convicted him on 165 counts. (More James Holmes stories.)

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