Judge set to sentence Colorado theatre shooter to life in prison

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brauchler asks for maximum prison sentence for Aurora theater murders.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – James Holmes feels remorse for his deadly attack on a Colorado movie theater, but his mental illness and medications make it hard for him to express it, his mother told a judge in an impromptu apology for the suffering he caused. “We know that is very, very hard for people to see,” Arlene Holmes testified during her son’s final sentencing hearing. “We cannot feel the depths of your pain.

CENTENNIAL — After more than three years of anxious waiting and legal maneuvering and unfiltered heartache, the Aurora movie theater murder case will end Wednesday in Arapahoe County District courtroom 201. We are very sorry this tragedy happened, and sorry everyone has suffered so much.” With her husband, Robert, by her side, she was the final witness to take the lectern Tuesday, capping a sentencing hearing where more than 100 victims and survivors testified about the searing physical and emotional scars the 2012 shooting has left. Samour on Wednesday will formally sentence Holmes to life in prison without parole for the murders of 12 people and up to 3,318 additional years on attempted murder and an explosives conviction.

Defense attorney Daniel King said Tuesday Holmes will not appeal his conviction, sparing victims the possibility of another emotionally wrenching trial. The remaining counts could bring as many as 3,300 additional years in prison — a statement about the gravity of his crime and the permanency of his punishment, a prison term that could reach as far into the future as the Egyptian pharaohs existed in the past. And they called for the judge to implement the harshest possible sentence when they recalled the night of the shooting. “I am not proud I didn’t know more about mental illness. FBI Special Agent Jeremy Phelps said he will never forget the sounds and smells of chaos when he stepped inside the theater where bodies lay amid popcorn and spent bullet shells. “These innocent victims were there to enjoy a movie, and one guy decided human life meant nothing,” said Aurora police Detective Craig Appel, who was among the first to interview Holmes. Their statements, some quiet and reflective, some laced with anger and frustration, gave a glimpse into the far-reaching impact of the massacre on the community and beyond.

He and other detectives, hardened by years of investigations, still struggle to understand the massacre. “I had to think, what kind of a person could hurt so many people? Others asked that he disappear. “My hope is that today is a new beginning,” said Michael Burris, whose sister, Rebecca Wingo, was killed in the attack, “and I finally get to lay down my hate and, not forgive him, but forget him.” Two of the last people to speak were mothers, one followed minutes later by the other, both rising to speak about their sons but for very different reasons. For Terry Sullivan, the moment was one final chance to tell the judge about her slain son, Alex, who gave the most delightfully suffocating hugs she has ever experienced. We should have known our family history better and realized that the signs of mental illness can surface at an early age,” said Holmes, who previously testified that she didn’t know her son suffered schizophrenia until after the shooting. “We want to share our knowledge with those who want to speak with us.” Now, she’s divorced. “Imagine telling your child that monsters are real and not to be afraid of the dark when you’re scared of the dark yourself,” said another survivor, Stephanie Davies, who also has an 8-month-old son.

Now, she said, when she looks at strangers in public with Alex’s enormous build, she finds herself wondering if they could give her the same kind of hug. John Gerhauser, whose best friend, Jonathan Blunk, was killed, told the judge: “If I were in charge, I’d say, this guy has to finish his Ph.D. and do something good for humanity or his death sentence will be reconsidered.”

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