CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The latest in the sentencing phase of the Colorado theater shooting trial:
Colorado theater shooter James Holmes has been sentenced to life after a jury failed to agree on a death penalty.
The jurors returned the sentence Friday. The same jury had rejected his insanity defense, finding Holmes capable of understanding right from wrong when he murdered 12 people and tried to kill 70 others in 2012.
Prosecutors argued that the former neuroscience graduate student deserved death for methodically planning the massacre.
But the previously decisive nine women and three men didn’t agree on death for Holmes, whose lawyers blamed the attack on mental illness.
Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting case have reached a decision on whether James Holmes should get life in prison or the death penalty. They deliberated for about six and a half hours before reaching a decision Friday. It will be announced at 7 p.m.
The same jurors rejected Holmes’ insanity defense and convicted him of murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 others three years ago at a suburban Denver movie theater.
During the sentencing phase, the defense told jurors that the shooting was caused by the psychotic breakdown of a mentally ill young man. The nine women and three men also listened to the stories of the children, spouses and parents of the 12 people killed and how their lives were changed forever by the attack. Jurors would have to unanimously agree for Holmes to be sentenced to death.
Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial will review a graphic crime scene video before deciding whether to give James Holmes the death penalty.
The panel of nine women and three men asked for the 45-minute recording Friday morning.
Defense attorneys objected that the gruesome images taken immediately after the massacre would be prejudicial. But Judge Carlos Samour, Jr. allowed it and said jurors would only have 50 minutes to watch the tape. He warned them not to let it prejudice their deliberations.
Jurors must decide whether Holmes should be executed for killing 12 during the 2012 assault, which also injured 70.
Jurors have resumed deliberating whether Colorado theater shooter James Holmes should be sentenced to death or life in prison. The panel of nine women and three men deliberated for about an hour Thursday before going home without reaching a decision. They continued Friday.
District Attorney George Brauchler told them death was the only appropriate sentence for Holmes, who was convicted of murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 more during a crowded midnight movie premiere in July 2012. But defense attorney Tamara Brady urged them to have mercy on Holmes, saying his schizophrenia and psychotic delusions drove him to kill.
Death sentences must be unanimous in Colorado. If even one juror disagrees with capital punishment for Holmes, he would be sentenced to life in prison without parole.