Shooter Convicted Aurora Theater Killings

     DENVER (CN) – A jury convicted Aurora theater gunman James Holmes ofall 165 counts of morder and attempted murder on Thursday.
     The decision, which was met with palpable relief from the victims and loved ones present at the Arapahoe County Justice Center, came after only a day and a half of deliberation.
     Holmes’ defense attorneys, who stood solemnly as the counts were read, finished stating their case on Tuesday with the reminder to the jury that Holmes, 27, has schizophrenia.
     This disorder, they argued, made it difficult for him to understand the difference between right and wrong the night of July 20, 2012, when he killed 12 and injured 70 in a mass shooting at the Century 16 theater in Aurora.
     The prosecution, headed by District Attorney George Brauchler, pushed for holding Holmes responsible for the massacre he meticulously planned in the months prior to the fateful July premier of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.”
     Judge Carlos Samour Jr. read the verdict at 4:15 p.m., taking an hour to read through all 165 counts that were charged against the former University of Colorado student. The first 12 counts represented the 12 people killed, for which Holmes was found guilty of murder in the first degree after deliberation.
     The next 12 counts involved the murders with “extreme indifference.”
     Another 70 counts of first-degree attempted involved the 70 people injured. The jury also found Holmes guilty of 70 extreme indifference enhancements.
     The final count involved the possession of explosives, which Holmes used to set booby traps for the police in his apartment.
     Jansen Young, the girlfriend of fatally wounded Jon Blunk, expressed consolation in the aftermath of the decision. Blunk was shot while shielding Young from Holmes’ gunfire.
     “I didn’t know what I would feel when I came, but I just feel so much relief. Justice is here,” Young told 7 News. “This is a huge step forward today.”
     Yousef Gharbi, who survived a gunshot wound to the head, also noted his relief.
     “My body shuddered,” Gharbi told KUSA. “A sense of relief came over me. Like everybody, I sighed. I gasped for air. That’s what I wanted to hear, but I didn’t know if that’s what I was going to hear.”
     Many of those in the courtroom as the verdict was read verdict openly wept as the judgment was announced.
     The mother of one of the deceased, Jessica Ghawi, held a green scarf that belonged to her daughter as the counts were read.
     Katie and Caleb Medley were present with the child Katie gave birth to the night Holmes shot Caleb in the head, a wound that rendered him unable to walk and talk properly.
     The next phase of the trial will address Holmes’ sentencing. The prosecution has already said it will seek the death penalty.
     Jurors will reconvene on July 22 to start the process, which is expected to take approximately four weeks.
     

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