Colorado theater gunman’s sentencing caps grueling trial

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Batman killer sentenced to thousands of years in jail.

Belittled by the judge and jeered by spectators, James Holmes was sent to prison for the rest of his life Wednesday, while the survivors of his murderous attack on a Colorado movie theater wondered aloud how they would spend the rest of their days. Samour sentenced Holmes to the maximum — 12 consecutive life terms without parole plus 3,318 years — then made a final, contemptuous order: “Sheriff, get the defendant out of my courtroom, please.” The long, grueling trial came to its formal conclusion three years and 37 days after Holmes murdered 12 people and tried to kill 70 more during a midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Samour, who was scrupulously respectful toward Holmes throughout the trial, launched into a withering condemnation of him as someone who knew right from wrong but “robbed the world of all the good these victims would have accomplished” and irreparably damaged the lives of hundreds more.

Nearly everyone in the courtroom’s gallery, including victims, family, jurors, law enforcement and even the media, had tears streaming down their faces as Samour gaveled the hearing to a close. But they also wondered what their futures would hold without the daily routine of the trial and the comfort they found in each other’s presence. “I’m relieved that it’s over, but I don’t think it will ever be over, you know?” said Rena Medek, whose daughter Micayla was among those killed. “I always have my daughter to think about.” Kathleen Larimer only recently has been able to accept that her son, John, was murdered in the attack. Holmes, who has been diagnosed with varying forms of schizophrenia, could wind up in the corrections department’s mental hospital, the 250-bed San Carlos Correctional Facility in Pueblo.

Before sentencing Holmes, Samour tried to reassure victims who were upset at the lack of a death penalty that Holmes’ punishment would still be severe. The judge also dismissed complaints that the trial was a waste of time, noting it gave family members and survivors an opportunity to tell the world about their ordeal.

As they departed the courtroom for the last time, survivors and relatives hugged and thanked prosecutors, law enforcement officers and a handful of jurors who were in the courtroom to observe. Holmes, wearing red prison scrubs, glasses and sandals with socks, smiled and chatted with defense attorney Kristen Nelson as they waited for the judge to take the bench. Prosecutors subsequently said one juror refused to sentence Holmes to death, apparently swayed by defence arguments that he did not deserve execution because he does suffer mental illness.

They said Holmes had been obsessed with the idea of mass killing since childhood, and he pursued neuroscience in an effort to find out what was wrong with his brain. She said his mental illness and medications make it hard for him to express it. “We know that is very, very hard for people to see,” Arlene Holmes testified. “We cannot feel the depths of your pain. Prosecutors pointed both to Holmes’ elaborate planning for the attack and his refusal to divulge to anyone — family, friends, psychiatrists — that he was thinking, and planning, murder.

We are very sorry this tragedy happened, and sorry everyone has suffered so much.” The prosecution in the case has filed a motion for restitution — the exact amount has yet to be determined — of no less than $796,262. Holmes then walked slowly to the podium with attorney Daniel King, and stood with his shackled hands on his hips as Samour read out the sentences for each count for about 30 minutes.

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