With a Few Choice Words, Judge|Sends Mass Murderer Away Forever

     DENVER (CN) – As he sentenced James Holmes to another 3,318 years in prison Wednesday for the attempted murders of 70 people, Judge Carlos Samour Jr. addressed the victims’ families, the lone juror who spared Holmes from death, and the killer himself.
     Holmes, 27, already had been sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering 12 people at the midnight premiere of a Batman movie at the Century 16 theater in Aurora on July 20, 2012. The additional sentence imposed Wednesday included time for possession of illegal explosives.
     A single holdout spared Holmes from the death penalty on Aug. 7.
     Judge Carlos Samour Jr. spoke to a packed courtroom in the Arapahoe County Courthouse as he read the final verdict and sent Holmes away for good.
     “It is almost impossible to comprehend how a human being is capable of such acts,” Samour said. “It is the court’s intention that the defendant never set foot in free society again.”
     Holmes’ public defenders sought a life sentence in a mental hospital, claiming Holmes schizoaffective disorder made him unable to tell right from wrong.
     But District Attorney George Brauchler cited Holmes’ meticulous planning: ordering ammunition and weapons in piecemeal to avoid suspicion, hiding plans from friends and therapists, researching the exits and police response time to the movie theater for weeks before he committed the murders.
     Samour addressed the dissatisfaction that victims’ families and friends expressed in early August, when the jury spared Holmes from death.
     “All 24 of the jurors in this case deserve our gratitude,” Samour said Wednesday. “Even though you may disagree with some of our laws, or you may disagree with the outcome of the case, the system works. It is not a perfect system. You are never going to have a perfect system because we’re all human beings. This is a system that is operated just like any other system, by human beings.
     “It’s an adversarial system. Because of that, it’s not unusual that at the end of the trial, you’re going to have some people who are not going to be necessarily satisfied with the outcome. But that doesn’t mean that the system is broken. That doesn’t mean that justice was not done.”
     Holmes will serve his sentence at a maximum security prison, which, Samour said, is hardly a “four-star hotel.”
     “I got the sense from listening to some of the victims … either because they expressly said so or because they implied it, that they felt like the defendant prevailed in this case,” Samour said.
     “Really, it depends on your perspective. When it comes to the outcome of the case, is the glass half full, or half empty?
     “This case will have been completed in a little over three years. That’s record time, folks. That’s unheard of time for a death penalty case, especially one of this magnitude. Had a death sentence been imposed, I promise you this case would have been pending in this court and the appellate court for years, if not decades.
     “Does that make a difference to you? Does that alter how you view things? By having the case completed with no appeals, it means that the victims don’t have to be continuously worrying about whether the conviction or death sentence will be overturned at some point in the future. It means that the victims won’t have to be continuously hearing about the case for the next decade or decades to come.
     “I can’t even fathom what you have experienced and what you continue to experienced, and yet you folks are persevering,” Samour told the victims’ families.
     Samour also addressed the lone juror who refused to sentence Holmes to death.
     “At least one juror showed the defendant the mercy that he refused the victims that day when he went into that theater,” Samour said.
     “This case is a display in contrasts. Whereas the defendant was not willing to be merciful and compassionate to the innocent victims in that theater on July 20, at least one juror gave him mercy and compassion.
     “Whereas the defendant quit on life, the victims in this case, through a person, have shown the courage and intestinal fortitude to fight and to live while facing much larger problems than the ones he ever faced.
     “Whereas the defendant had a long-lasting hatred of mankind, the victims who have come in here and addressed the court have shown all that is good about humanity.”
     After he read the sentence, Samour spoke to Holmes.
     “If there was ever a case that warranted a maximum sentence, this is the case,” he said. “The defendant does not deserve any sympathy.”
     The court exploded in applause when Samour asked the sheriff to “get the defendant out of my courtroom.”
     Holmes was led out of court, shackled at the waist.

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