Date
23 March 2017
James Holmes leaves court for the last time after being sentenced to 12 life terms for the 2012 Colorado movie rampage that killed 12 people and wounded 70. Photo: Reuters
James Holmes leaves court for the last time after being sentenced to 12 life terms for the 2012 Colorado movie rampage that killed 12 people and wounded 70. Photo: Reuters

Remorseless Colorado movie gunman jailed 3,318 years

A judge condemned Colorado gunman James Holmes to 12 life sentences and the maximum 3,318 years in prison for the 2012 movie rampage that killed 12 people and wounded 70.

“It is the court’s intention that the defendant never set foot in free society again … If there was ever a case that warranted the maximum sentences, this is the case,” Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour said.

“The defendant does not deserve any sympathy.”

Survivors and relatives of those killed clapped and cheered as Samour ordered deputies to remove Holmes from his courtroom. The gunman was led away in shackles, according to Reuters.

Holmes, 27, donned a helmet, gas mask and body armor then opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle, shotgun and pistol inside Century 16 multiplex in the Denver suburb of Aurora on July 20, 2012.

The jury did not reach a unanimous decision on whether Holmes should be executed.

That meant the former neuroscience graduate student, who had pleaded insanity, got a dozen automatic life sentences with no parole.

Samour still had to sentence Holmes on scores of attempted murder counts, and an explosives charge he received for rigging his apartment with homemade bombs.

Condemning the shooter to the longest term he could issue, the judge said Holmes set out to kill “as many innocents as possible” after deciding to “quit” in life.

He said whatever illness Holmes may have suffered, there was overwhelming evidence that a significant part of his conduct had been driven by “moral obliquity, mental depravity … anger, hatred, revenge, or similar evil conditions.”

After a trial that began in late April, the judge said the “$64 million question” that lingered was whether the defendant was afflicted by a mental condition, disease or defect, and if so, to what extent.

“We tend to like simple answers, but maybe it’s not so simple,” Samour said. “And maybe that’s because we’re not where we need to be in the fields of psychiatry and psychology.”

After two days of often tearful and sometimes angry testimony from victims, District Attorney George Brauchler had called on Tuesday for Holmes to be given every day of the harshest possible prison term.

The lead prosecutor also said he wished the court could order that the defendant spend the rest of his days in solitary confinement, surrounded by photos of the people he killed, but that it could not.

After the judge delivered the sentence, Brauchler told reporters the gunman had never said he was sorry.

“He has never expressed remorse … he is remorseless,” Brauchler said outside court.

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CG/RA

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