James Homes killed 12 people three years ago in the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Holmes admits to the shooting rampage on July 23, 2012, but pleads innocent by reason of insanity.
Opening statements in the murder trial of gunman James Holmes began in Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colo. at noon today.
James Holmes is charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder. In addition, the former doctorate student is charged with 116 counts of attempted murder, plus one charge of possession of explosives.
Both the prosecution and defense agree that James Holmes barged into a Colorado movie theater, tossed teargas into the packed crowd, and started shooting, killing twelve and injuring 70 people. However, the 24-year-old pleads not guilty, by reason of insanity.
Prosecutors have to prove sanity without reasonable doubt. The juror needs to determine whether Holmes was legally insane–incapable of determining right from wrong, at the time he went on his savage and unrelenting shooting rampage.
Huffington Post reported an explanation made by AP in December 2014.
“The question isn’t whether Holmes pulled the trigger. His lawyers have said as much. It’s whether he was sane enough at the time of the crime to be punished for it.”
According to ABC News, the jury is comprised of 19 women and 5 men, including an explosive expert, a plumber, and an Army ICU nurse.
Legal analysts suggest since the jury consists predominantly of women; Holmes has an increased chance of getting a life sentence, rather than the death penalty.
However, former Colorado State Public Defender, David Kaplan told ABC News he doesn’t agree.
“Is there a typical woman? No. I don’t think they care a wit about gender. The defense wanted people who would be open minded of their client’s mental condition.”
If the jury rules Holmes insane at the time of his shooting spree, he will be committed to a psychiatric hospital, indefinitely. However, if Holmes is found to be sane, he faces a death sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
At the time of the gruesome and savage shooting rampage, Colorado Police responded to the first call of help within 90 seconds. James Holmes, with shocking orange hair, was found in the parking lot of the Century 16 movie theater. He told police he was the Joker, referencing a Batman movie titled The Dark Knight Rises.
The nation can expect to see and hear more mounting courtroom drama of the murder trial of James Holmes in the months to follow.
[Featured image via RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images]