Aurora shooter’s mom apologizes to victims: ‘We pray for your peace’

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Aurora Shooting Prosecutor George Brauchler: The James Holmes Trial ‘Will Always Stay with Me’.

For George Brauchler, the case is that of James Holmes, the man who opened fire in a crowded movie theater during a 2012 showing of The Dark Knight Rises. On Tuesday, August 25th, the mother of a mass killer looked like the loneliest person in the world as she stood up in court and addressed the people her son has harmed.

Talking with PEOPLE in a candid interview, Brauchler reflects on the high-profile trial. “This case will always stick with me,” he says. “It’s the most disturbing and significant case that I have prosecuted. One mother talked about how she saw her daughter’s organs exposed and wrapped in plastic as she lay on a hospital gurney, awaiting surgery that saved her life. “We are in a unique and unenviable position because we cry for James and we cry for thousands of people in Aurora,” Holmes said. “We cannot feel the depth of your pain.

We pray for your ability to sleep at night, and your ability to find a single moment of happiness when that happiness seems completely elusive.” She apologized, saying she is “very sorry that this tragedy happened and that everyone has suffered so much.” And, she said, her son, diagnosed as schizophrenic, is sorry, too. “He said he feels remorse for his horrible actions,” Holmes said. “But his ability to express his emotions has been impaired by disease and medication and we know it is very, very hard for people to see.” Holmes said she and her husband, Robert, have spent the three years since the shooting massacre learning about mental illness. She wished she’d known that when he isolated himself from other people, that’s when he most needed help. “We should have known our family history better,” she said. And I had to talk to her on the stand about it.” “I asked a ridiculous question: ‘How has the shooting affected you?’ ” he continues. “It was such a dumb question, but I needed an answer.

Relatives on both sides of the family, most notably her husband’s twin sister, have been hospitalized in the past with mental illness, according to trial testimony. James Holmes has been convicted of 24 counts of murder — two for each person he killed at the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012.

I’m not a mom anymore.’ That hit me hard.” “Just her alone as a victim was traumatic,” Brauchler says, “but there were 11 other people killed and 70 more injured. The scope of the killing was incredible.” Brauchler is quick to say that the killing wasn’t “random” in the strictest sense of the word. “The victims were random; he didn’t know them, he didn’t want to kill those particular people. He was intentional about what he did.” “He made a conscious, deliberate decision to do wrong,” he says, his voice rising slightly. “He knew it was wrong. On Tuesday, the circle of witnesses expanded to include people traumatized by what they saw in the theater. “All homicides are tragic,” Detective Craig Appel said. “This case has affected me and colleagues more than any other.

He knew he was murdering human beings, and he wanted to do it because he wanted to be evil.” “Of course there are issues of weapons and mental health,” he says. “But that wasn’t my job. How can one guy hurt so many people?” “No one should ever have to see the lifeless, blood-soaked body of a 6-year-old girl,” said Mallory Baker, who went to the movie with her father. Stephanie Davies told her mother, Erin Christen, that being inside the theater “was like being in the mouth of hell.” She and a friend played dead until the shooting stopped.

And then she climbed over bodies to reach her injured friend. “The maximum sentence for the maximum evil, your honor,” prosecutor George Brauchler insisted. “What that guy did he should not be spared one year, one month, one day, of what the maximum available sentence is.” Brauchler said he is disappointed that the jury did not return a death sentence but respects the jury’s decision. Still, he said, only a maximum sentence would acknowledge what the victims endured. “When death walked into Theater 9, this guy attempted to murder everything that he lacked and everything that he wasn’t — courage, bravery, selflessness,” Brauchler said. He pointed out that Holmes offered early on to plead guilty if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. “We most humbly respect the suffering of the victims in this case,” King said. “It pains us beyond measure that some of these folks may perceive any of our actions as being directed against them in any way at all. It has never been our intention to reharm, reinjure or retraumatize anyone.” But it was Arlene Holmes whose words stood out on yet another day of tears, sadness and raw emotion as she vowed to continue to work to raise awareness of mental health issues. “I have heard people say mass shooting cannot be prevented,” she said. “I do not wish to succumb to this defeatist attitude. He got his due process.” “It has changed me in many ways,” he says. “I look at life as even more fragile now, and that’s even after I was deployed to Iraq.

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