Jurors in the trial of James Holmes, the man accused in the 2012 mass shooting at a crowded theatre in Aurora, CO, have found Holmes guilty of all 165 charges he faced — including first-degree murder.
Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty when the case moves into the sentencing phase.
Holmes, 27, was accused of entering the Aurora Century 16 on July 20, 2012 during a midnight showing of the film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” firing multiple rounds from a high-powered weapon.
Twelve people were killed, another 70 were injured before prosecutors say Holmes’ gun jammed.
Holmes, who had been wearing body armour and spent months planning the attack, surrendered to police shortly after the shooting.
Of the 165 charges filed against Holmes, there were two murder charges for each of the 12 dead, and one attempted murder charge for each of the 70 injured.
The two murder charges were filed under two different theories: “extreme indifference” and “after deliberation.”
Extreme indifference: Implies that Holmes maliciously acted in a way that could kill a person, resulting in a death.
After deliberation: Alleges Holmes planned to kill a person, and then successfully followed through with that plan.
Additional charges included possession of an incendiary device. Shortly after the shooting, investigators who arrived at Holmes’ apartment found the unit had been rigged with explosives.
Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Prosecutors say Holmes had a history of mental illness, and was being monitored by several medical professionals, including a psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, at the University of Colorado where Holmes attended graduate school.
A court-appointed psychiatrist testified in May that Holmes was sane at the time of the shooting, but had “serious psychiatric issues.”
The Denver Post reported that in the months leading up to the theatre massacre, Holmes and Dr. Fenton had several meetings during which she testified Holmes admitted that he “fantasized about killing people.” She reportedly declined to put Holmes on a mental hold before the shooting.
The 2012 shooting restarted another national conversation about gun control — specifically with regard to background checks as a way to rule out mental illness in potential buyers.
After visiting Aurora following the shooting, President Obama took a tough stance on the sale of high-powered weapons, saying such weapons should never end up in the hands of a “mentally unbalanced individual.”
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