Arapahoe County’s District Attorney George Brauchler formally rejected a bid to spare James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, the death penalty.
James Holmes’ defense team put forward a potential plea deal — which would land the suspected shooter in prison for life without parole — which was rejected by prosecutors in Colorado in a case in which 12 were killed and 70 more wounded during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
The attempt to shield Holmes from execution was seen as somewhat of a long shot by legal analysts due in part to the scope of the crime and number of victims. Denver lawyer Karen Steinhauser speculated to ABC News that the gravity alone of the crime of which James Holmes stands accused would be a large impediment to death penalty avoidance:
“In Colorado, the death penalty is still the law and prosecutors have been reserving it for the worst of the worst. Most people would agree that if you’re going to have a death penalty, this case represents the worst of the worst.”
At issue as well is what prosecutors say is extensive planning on the part of Holmes to successfully carry out the massacre and ensure a large casualty count, and prosecutors say that cell phone photos of the theaters exit doors were found on the suspect’s device.
While many victims’ families prefer James Holmes face the death penalty, others are saddened by the prospect of a lengthy trial and wait for justice should Holmes be thusly sentenced.
Pierce O’Farrill was wounded in the Aurora theater shooting, and O’Farrill says that it could be “10 or 15 years before he’s executed,” adding:
“I would be in my 40s and I’m planning to have a family, and the thought of having to look back and reliving everything at that point in my life, it would be difficult.”