Colorado Movie Massacre: Defense And Prosecution Argue Over Life And Death

Colorado Movie Massacre: Defense And Prosecution Argue Over Life And Death
Gun Play, Arkansas Rod Waddington / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

It a battle of wits as lawyers of the Colorado movie massacre trial convince the jury on Thursday the propriety of penalty, with defense arguing James Holmes suffers from schizophrenia and must not be meted out with death penalty, and prosecutors contending that mental state must not be used as a shield in attaining justice.


The heat is on inside the court that hears the punishment trial of the massacre, which left 12 people dead and 70 others wounded. Attorney Tamara Brady, counsel for the convicted Holmes, associated the convicted felon’s impulse in purchasing guns to schizophrenia.

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“Had he not been inflicted with the disease that attacked his brain, he never would have dyed his hair orange, he never would have purchased all of those guns and all of that ammunition, and this heartbreaking tragedy would never have occurred,” said the defense lawyer.

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The jury found Holmes guilty of 165 counts of related charges inside the Century 16 cinema shooting on July 20, 2012. The aggravating circumstances that attended the crime make death the proper penalty. And since the jury refused to recognize Holmes’ insanity plea, it is up to the defense to prove there are mitigating circumstances that would merit a lower penalty.

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“That’s over. That’s off the table. You have declared him guilty, you have declared him responsible, and you have declared that he will be punished. And he will be punished. It’s just which punishment he gets,” Attorney Brady said.

Picture It All

Meanwhile, George Brauchler, lead prosecutor, reminded the jurors on the heinous crime committed by the 27-year-old and said that “not having the same brain that we have does not protect” him “from the ramifications of those decisions.” Brauchler added the massacre was a decision Holmes made and from that decision, 12 people died.

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“Can anything outweigh that? No. No,” the prosecutor answered with conviction. “If you close your eyes you can picture it all. There was nothing they could do about it. And he saw to that,” Brauchler continued, emphasizing the mass shooting was carried out “in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.”

“The victims were trapped in the darkness, surrounded by screams of pain and fear,” said the prosecutor.

Jurors began on their deliberations immediately after the closing arguments of Brauchler. Should they find the mitigating factors to weigh more, a life imprisonment without parole would be issued against Holmes. But if the jury cannot reach a verdict on Thursday, they would meet again on Monday to continue on their deliberations.

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