Verdict Reached in Aurora Theater Shooting Trial

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Aurora theater shooting trial: 6 highlights from Holmes’ defense.

Jurors told Judge Carlos Samour Jr. at about 1 p.m. that they had reached a decision. CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) – The jury in the Aurora theater shooting trial is deliberating for a second day over whether James Holmes was legally insane when he opened fire on a crowded movie premiere.Nearly three years ago, James Eagan Holmes walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and committed one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.Jurors in Colorado’s movie massacre trial began deliberating on Wednesday on the fate of gunman James Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder stemming from his rampage in July 2012.

Holmes, a 27-year-old former neuroscience graduate student from California, could face the death penalty if he is convicted of opening fire inside a midnight premiere of a Batman movie at a Denver area multiplex, killing 12 people and wounding 70. The nine women and three men who make up the final jury spent their first day Wednesday debating James Holmes’ guilt or insanity before going home around 4:30 p.m. without a verdict. Jurors returned Thursday to consider whether prosecutors have met their burden in proving Holmes was capable of knowing right from wrong and therefore legally sane under Colorado law.

During the trial, two court-appointed psychiatrists testified for the prosecution that while the defendant is severely mentally ill, he was sane when he plotted and carried out the massacre. Prosecutors charged Holmes with two counts of first-degree murder or attempted murder, respectively, for each of the 12 people he killed or the 70 people he wounded inside the theater. Holmes’ aunt, the fraternal twin of his father, was diagnosed 30 years ago with schizoaffective disorder — the same diagnosis that has been applied to Holmes.

If the jury agrees Holmes was insane, he would avoid execution and likely spend the rest of his life committed to the state’s mental hospital in Pueblo, 100 miles (160 km) south of Denver. His aunt has delusions, is completely disabled by the illness, has been hospitalized several times, and is on the same anti-psychotic medications as Holmes. Mental illness is like cancer: King compared mental illness to cancer after telling the jury, “Here in the fortress of law, there is no room for hate or vengeance or retaliation.” He expounded that, in this country, we are in denial about mental illness, and he seemed to be trying to tell the jury that Holmes is sick — like he would be with any other disease. 4.

The experts are “extraordinarily consistent, that’s what every one of these experts … told you.” All four experts called by the defense agreed that Holmes suffers from a schizophrenia spectrum disorder. 5. Holmes knew he was legally wrong — not morally: King explained that Holmes did not know the difference between “right and wrong,” which is in fact a moral choice. This was a compelling argument, because the legal standard for sanity is actually a moral question — something very critical for the jury to distinguish between. 6.

William Reid saying to Holmes over and over (and over again many more times), “I don’t want to put words in your mouth.” It was awkwardly entertaining, and it certainly drove home the point that much of what Reid attributes to Holmes may in fact be the psychiatrist’s narrative.

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