The fate of James Holmes, the man who massacred 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, has been determined. The jury has officially made a decision as to whether or not James Holmes was legally insane when he opened fire on innocent civilians three years ago.
According to NBC News, the official verdict will be read at the Arapahoe County Courthouse and broadcast publicly around the world at 4:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. ET). NBC will be streaming the reading of the verdict when the time comes.
The trial of James Holmes lasted 51 days. The jury of nine women and three men took 13 hours to deliberate on the information presented at the trial, including 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder. While James Holmes admitted that killed 12 people and injured 70 more at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, he pleaded not guilty to the charges by reason of insanity — surprising those who thought he might plead guilty.
If the jury determines that James Holmes is not guilty due to insanity, the shooter will most likely still spend the rest of his life in a mental institution. However, if James Holmes is found guilty — meaning he carried out the murders with full mental capacity — the shooter could be sentenced to the death penalty. Even if he is found guilty of only one count of murder, James Holmes faces capital punishment.
Both the prosecution and James Holmes’ defense attorney presented experts in psychiatry to analyze the mental state of the Aurora theater killer, but they drew different conclusions. The jury had to determine which psychological expert was more convincing — and as of today (Thursday, July 16), they have done so.
The defense claimed that James Holmes suffers from schizophrenia and delusions, and therefore can’t be held responsible for Aurora theater shooting. But, according to the Huffington Post, District Attorney George Brauchler argued in his closing statements that James Holmes must have been fully cognizant before the massacre because he meticulously rigged his apartment with advanced homemade explosives.
“That is logical. That is rational, and that is anything — anything — but psychotic. That guy was sane beyond a reasonable doubt, and he needs to be held accountable for what he did.”
What do you think? Was James Holmes insane when he carried out the Aurora theater shooting? Should he be sentenced to death or forced to live in a mental institution?
Update: James Holmes has been found guilty for the first-degree murder of 12 people.
[Photo by RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images]