Theater shooting jury decides whether execution still option. Watch the verdict live here.
CENTENNIAL, Colorado (AP) — Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial reached a decision Monday on whether to keep the death penalty as an option for gunman James Holmes.
The jury deliberated for less than three hours, starting Thursday after Holmes’ parents made an emotional plea for their son’s life because he is mentally ill.
The 12-member jury was asked to decide whether circumstances such as Holmes’ lack of a prior criminal history mean he should be sentenced to life in prison without parole instead.
The same jury rejected Holmes’ insanity defense, convicting him of murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 others in the July 2012 theater attack. Colorado law defines insanity as the inability to know right from wrong.
During the sentencing phase, the defense called a court-appointed psychiatrist who previously testified for the prosecution that Holmes knew the difference between right and wrong and was therefore legally sane. But Dr. Jeffrey Metzner also said severe mental illness and delusions drove Holmes to kill, rather than hatred or a desire for notoriety.
Holmes had been a promising student working toward his Ph.D. in neuroscience, his attorneys said.
Prosecutors said none of that outweighs the heinous nature of Holmes’ planned and calculated shooting. They said he wanted to kill all of the more than 400 people who filled the auditorium and stopped at 12 because his assault rifle jammed.
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