Three years after the devastating Aurora Theater shooting

Three years after the devastating Aurora Theater shooting

James Holmes, a once promising doctoral candidate in neuroscience, massacred moviegoers at a Batman movie premiere is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

Many details of the massacre, such as both exam scores regarding Holmes’s sanity and the individuals expected to testify have been kept out of the public view until now. Verging on almost three years, capital punishment and insanity pleas regarding this case have created plenty of complicated legal debates, slowing down trial preparations.

Planned out months in advance, gathering guns, ammunition, tear gas grenades, and turning his apartment into a potentially lethal booby trap for law enforcement. Holmes Acknowledged that he had killed 12 people and wounded 70 more inside the theater.

According to his lawyer, he was too mentally ill to determine right from wrong. Unfortunately, unlike other states, Colorado requires prosecutors to convince jurors beyond reasonable doubt that Holmes was sane. With almost 85,000 pages of evidence against Holmes,his odds are slim.

A jury trial for a mass shooter is rare, as many end up killing themselves, killed by police or plead guilty but Holmes was arrested shortly after the shooting in the parking lot as he was stripping off his body armor. Insanity defenses are successful in only about 25% of felony trials with only one mass shooter winning a mental-health case in the past two decades.

District Attorney George Braucher declared that the two mental health evaluations found Holmes to be sane at the time of the massacre. It has been a long awaited and heart wrenching  trial to figure out what they were going to do with him.

The prosecution ended up winning so they will be asking for him to be sentenced to death rather than life without parole. If the defense team had won by insanity, Holmes would have been committed indefinitely to a state psychiatric hospital.

Holmes faces 166 counts, including attempted murder, explosives offense, and first degree murder. The victims include two active-duty service men, six year old girl, a single mom, aspiring broadcaster who had originally survived a mall shooting in toronto, and others who were shielding loved ones and friends.

Holmes’ parents want to avoid a drawn-out trial and have begged the prosecution to consider a plea deal sparing his life. Tom Sullivan, whose son was celebrating his 27th birthday and wedding anniversary, has other ideas. “My intent is to go down there to see that guy get convicted of all 166 counts that were against him.”

According to experts, jury selection was among the largest and most complex in history.Pulling from a pool of 9,000, attorneys and Judges took almost four months to pull 12 jurors and additional 12 alternates. It was difficult to find people who weren’t personally affected by the shooting.