Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes was found guilty on Thursday of multiple counts of first degree murder, a verdict which enables prosecutors to seek the death penalty for the former graduate student who killed 12 people and wounded 70 at a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012.
After a trial lasting three months, in which hundreds of witnesses testified and thousands of pieces of evidence were presented, jurors deliberated for about a day and a half and then found Holmes guilty on all 165 counts against him. The panel of nine women and three men rejected the defense’s claim that he was legally insane.
The families of the victims were relieved at the outcome, while Holmes did not visibly show any reaction to the verdict. His trial now enters the punishment phase, when the jurors must determine whether Holmes, 27, should be put to death or serve a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole. That process is expected to last until late August, with both sides bringing a fresh round of witnesses.
The prosecution argued that Holmes’ detailed preparations for the attack showed that he knew what he was doing, and knew it was wrong. They presented evidence about his purchases of guns, and showed how he conducted online research into bomb-making so he could booby-trap his apartment before he left for the cinema.