A Colorado jury sentenced James Holmes to life in prison on Friday, rejecting the death penalty for the 27-year-old who killed 12 people and wounded 70 more at an Aurora movie theater three years ago.
The jury deliberated for almost seven hours and did not reach a unanimous decision, meaning Holmes received an automatic life sentence without parole, instead of the death penalty.
Holmes’ trial began in April and was marked by gruesome crime scene details and emotional testimony from survivors, who described what happened when Holmes opened fire during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012. The former neuroscience graduate student — who pleaded guilty by reason of insanity — was convicted last month of 24 counts of first-degree murder, two for each of the slain victims.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, who argued for the death penalty, told reporters that he respects, but disagrees with, the jury's decision.
“Though I'm disappointed with the outcome, I'm not disappointed with the process,” he said. “I still think death is justice for what that guy did but the system said otherwise and I honor that.”
According to The Denver Post, Holmes will be formally sentenced at another hearing later this month, where victims and their families can address the court. Holmes, who opted out of speaking to jurors during his trial, will also have the opportunity to make his own statement.