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Dark Knight Rises shooter found guilty

Published 17/07/2015

James Holmes
James Holmes

On Thursday a jury revealed their verdict against James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people in 2012 after going on a shooting rampage in a Colorado theatre during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

The 27-year-old was charged with 24 counts of first degree murder, which includes two counts for each of the 12 people killed when he opened fire at an Aurora, Colorado theatre during the July 20, 2012 showing of Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.

Variety reports the jury hearing the case, which was comprised of nine women and three men, deliberated for a day and a half before delivering their guilty verdict in court on Thursday afternoon.

Holmes entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, which meant most of his trial focused on his mental state before he slaughtered a dozen people nearly three years ago.

Holmes’ attorney Daniel King argued his client did not have a grasp on what he thought, did or felt during the time of the theatre shooting.

However in closing arguments George Brauchler, the district attorney of Arapahoe County who served on the prosecution, noted Holmes planned the attack methodically, mapped out his escape from the venue and took other actions which made it clear he knew right from wrong.

The prosecution’s case was strong, as the attorney brought forth 69 of the 70 people who were injured, but survived the attack. Many of the survivors shared grim accounts of how terrible it was to see loved ones die before them and described the harrowing experience of being trapped in a dark theatre unable to move. Some of these survivors were missing limbs or had been paralysed as a result of their gunshot wounds.

Many noted Holmes was dressed in a ballistic helmet, gas mask, vest and other heavy duty armour gear as if he were a member of the SWAT team. Testifiers also claimed he set off tear gas.

In addition to 24 counts of murder, Holmes received two separate charges of attempted murder for each of the 70 surviving victims. His final charge was for possession of an explosive or incendiary device due to the way his apartment was booby trapped when police arrived to investigate, bringing the total amount of charges to 125.

Now that a guilty verdict has been reached, the trial moves into a monthlong sentencing phase to determine what punishment Holmes will receive for his crimes.

Holmes’ actions sent a shockwave throughout America and the entertainment community. The Dark Knight Rises lead actor Christian Bale met with survivors of the tragedy to show his support.

"Words cannot express the horror that I feel," Christian wrote in a statement in 2012. "I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them."

Christian's words followed a statement issued by director Christopher Nolan, who also expressed his anguish at the horrific tragedy.

Warner Bros. also decided to cancel the red carpet debut event in Paris in light of the Colorado shooting.

© Cover Media

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