The Trial of James Holmes Reaches a Verdict

Photo Credit: xandert from morguefile.com

Photo Credit: xandert from morguefile.com

James Holmes is the man who killed 12 people and injured 70 others at Aurora, Colorado’s Aurora Theater three years ago during a showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.

The jury deciding whether or not Holmes was legally insane at the time of the shooting told the judge on Thursday that they have reached a verdict.

The verdicts will be announced at the Arapahoe County Courthouse beginning at 4:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. ET).

The jury, consisting of nine women and three men, reached its decision after only 13 hours of deliberation on the 51st day of the trial. Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder, 140 counts of attempted murder, and an explosives count in the shootings that took place on July 20, 2012.

The ways that this trial could go are unforeseen. 27-year-old Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason, but he never denied that he carried out what he was charged with.

The jurors will first have to indicate on written forms whether they find Holmes guilty or not guilty. If any of them found him not guilty, they must indicate whether or not it was because they found him to be insane.

Holmes, who is a former doctoral student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver, will be committed to a mental institution if the jurors return with insanity verdicts on all 165 counts. His admittance to the mental institution will most likely be for life.

However, if Holmes is found guilty, even for one count of murder, then the trial will move to sentencing, and Holmes could possibly receive the death penalty.

There are several different ways this could play out with the jury. They could decide that Holmes is guilty of lesser offenses not specified in the charges. For example, involuntary or voluntary manslaughter are possibilities.

During the trial hearing, jurors heard the testimonies from psychiatrists on both sides. Leaving them to decide which testimony they believed.

Two prosecution psychiatrists testified that while Holmes may have been mentally ill, he was sane on the day of the shooting and the days leading up to it, that he had spent planning his attack.

Two defense psychiatrists disagreed, saying that Holmes was schizophrenic and suffered from delusions. They testified that Holmes could not be held accountable for his actions.

A court spokesman estimated that it should take about an hour to announce the verdicts for all 165 charges against Holmes.

These charges include separate charges of first-degree murder with intent and first-degree murder with extreme difference for each of the victims: Jonathan Blunk, Alexander Boik, Jesse Childress, Gordon Cowden, Jessica, Ghawi, John Thomas Larimer, Matthew McQuinn, Micayla Medek, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, Alex Sullivan, Alexander Teves, and Rebecca Ann Wingo.

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