Colorado Theater Shooting: James Holmes Sentenced To 3,318 Years In Prison

Colorado Theater Shooting: James Holmes Sentenced To 3,318 Years In Prison
S-21 Prison / Tuol Sleng Maya-Anaïs Yataghène / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Colorado theater shooting culprit James Holmes was given the maximum possible sentence of 3,318 years in prison. Judge Carlos Samour Jr. gave the verdict after a split jury had arrived at the decision earlier this month.


Judge Samour said that Holmes gave up on life and unleashed his anger on innocent victims in the Colorado theater. He told the bailiff to “get the defendant out of my courtroom, please.”

Caren Teves, the mother of victim Alex Teves, said, “It’s a huge relief knowing that this monster will never see the light of day again. It’s a relief that it’s over … but our hearts are still broken. It’s never over for us.”

According to NBC News, the jury had not unanimously agreed on a death sentence, and so Judge Samour had no option but to sentence Holmes to life in prison. The sentence was announced after two days of testimony from survivors of the attack.

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There were concerns that Holmes may lead a rather easy and comfortable life in prison, which were disputed by Judge Samour. He said that prison is harsh and restrictive. He further said that it has yet to be decided where Holmes will be spending his life without parole, but it probably will be in a state outside Colorado.

Also read: James Holmes Verdict One Vote Shy From Death Penalty

‘We came together and became something stronger than the defendant could ever imagine’

“Judge Samour is the epitome of class, knowledge,” Teves said after the sentencing. “If you look up law … and upholding the law and justice in the dictionary … you will see his picture.”

This week saw testimonies of more than 100 victims and survivors, recounting the horrors of the 2012 massacre and the emotional and physical scars that had been left behind. A remark given by one of the survivors, which Judge Samour read, stated, “We’re still standing. We came together and became something stronger than the defendant could ever imagine.”

Judge Samour acknowledged the courage the victims had shown in this case. He also thanked the jury for sentencing Holmes to life in prison after what has been an arduous and emotionally demanding case trial.

Holmes’ mother, Arlene, said that her son is remorseful over his actions; and that it is his mental illness and medications that make it difficult for him to express his emotions.

“We know that is very, very hard for people to see,” Arlene Holmes said.

Also read: James Holmes Penalty Trial Update – Teenager Says Her Family Is Broken By Massacre

“We cannot feel the depths of your pain. We can only listen to everything you have expressed, and we pray for you. … We are very sorry this tragedy happened, and sorry everyone has suffered so much.”

According to, Holmes attorneys argued that he had been taken over by a psychotic episode when he opened fire in the Colorado movie theater. Holmes had dropped out of a neuroscience program shortly before.

Prosecutors said that Holmes had meticulously planned the attack. He had stockpiled guns and ammunition, and carefully studied the structure and layout of the Aurora movie theater complex to determine which auditorium would yield maximum casualties.

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