Verdict Reached in Movie Theater Shooting Trial: James Holmes Found Guilty on All Counts

A jury in Colorado has found James Holmes guilty in the mass shooting that killed 12 and injured 70 people during Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” in Aurora in July 2012.  Defense lawyers claimed Holmes should not be found guilty by reason of insanity, saying he was mentally ill at the time of the mass shooting.  “The mental illness is the sole reason this crime took place,” defense lawyer Daniel King said in closing arguments yesterday.  The jury rejected these arguments and Holmes was charged with 24countsof first-degree murder (two charges for each murder, one for intent and one for acting with extreme indifference) in addition to 140 counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of an explosive device.

Ultimately, the trial came down to whether the jury believed the defense or prosecutor’s psychiatrists, as each side presented information evidencing reasons why Holmes may have been mentally ill.  The prosecution testified that even though he may have had schizophrenia, he was sane enough to plan out his attack and sane at the time it occurred.  He had taken photos of himself as well as detailed the massacre in a notebook which he sent to a school psychiatrist immediately before the theater shooting took place. The defense argued that the schizophrenia caused delusions and behavior for which Holmes could not be held accountable. Had the defense won, Holmes would have most likely been placed in a mental institution for the remainder of his life.

The sentencing component of the trial begins Wednesday, when the jury returns to decide Holmes’ fate, just two days after the third anniversary of the attack.  Both sides will present more evidence to determine the proper punishment. Holmes faces a possible death sentence or life without parole.

To view our previous coverage of this story, visit, “James Holmes Movie Theater Massacre Trial Starts This Week.”  For questions related to this article or to speak to a Tampa personal injury and criminal defense attorney regarding a case you are involved in, contact TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A.