Colorado Shooter James Holmes Gets Life In Prison -- Escapes Death Penalty

Jose Florez

It has finally been decided.

In the case of James Eagan Holmes, the jury reached the decision to charge the 28-year-old Colorado shooter with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Unexpectedly, Holmes has dodged the death penalty, ABC News reports.

The decision was reached on Friday following three months of testimony from survivors and close relatives of the shooter. The entire case took almost three years until the final verdict was reached. However, on Friday, the jury only needed six-and-a-half hours to render the verdict.

According to NY Daily News, the defense team of Holmes argued constantly how mental illness, at the time of the killing spree, prohibited him from distinguishing right from wrong. However, the jury refused to believe that. Initially, the insanity plea was dropped on the table to avoid the death penalty, but was rejected last month.

Holmes was found guilty on all 165 charges, including murdering 12 and injuring 70 others at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises back in 2012. Holmes was charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder.

During the jury's final closing argument, defense attorney Tamara Brady made the following statement.

"But for mental illness, this tragedy would not have happened... justice without mercy is raw vengeance."

Holmes was born and raised in San Diego, California. At age 11, Holmes began exhibiting signs of depression and suicidal idealization. As a kid, the movie theater shooter had episodes of psychosis, like that of schizophrenia.

In 2008, Holmes graduated with a degree in Neuroscience from the University of California Riverside (UCR). Afterwards, Holmes originally had plans to start working on his Ph.D., however his mental state of mind began to deteriorate.

On July 20, 2012, inside the Century 16 multiplex, Holmes entered theater nine with several weapons and armor, and began shooting everyone in sight. When Holmes was handcuffed, he was reportedly calm and relaxed, according to authorities.

The Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting would go on to become one of the most infamous shootings in American history. One that triggered massive controversy about gun laws and mental illness.

[Photo via Andy Cross/AP]