James Holmes found guilty of murder in Colorado theater massacre

Stephanie Cannon

After nearly three years to the day, a guilty verdict has been reached in the trial of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes.

Holmes was found guilty of murder in either murder of the first degree, murder in the first degree due to extreme indifference, attempt to commit murder in the first degree extreme indifference or attempt to commit murder in the first degree on each separate charge currently announced by the court. 

This verdict means that Holmes could possibly face the death penalty.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for his actions in the July 20, 2012 shooting of an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that impacted the lives of 82 people, 12 of whom did not survive, as well as countless friends and family members.

Holmes’ defense never denied Holmes’ involvement in the massacre but instead insisted that Holmes could not distinguish right from wrong during, as well as in the months prior to, the shooting. 

The trial had been delayed for years because of several suicide attempts made by Holmes during the pretrial hearings, discussion over the details of how the trail would proceede and requests from both Holmes attorneys and the prosecution. Some specific delays were caused by a request to transfer the trial to a different venue due to the court’s thirty-minute proximity to the location of the shooting, multiple psychological evaluations, if the notebook Holmes mailed to his psychiatrist hours before the shooting would be admissible, whether or not Holmes’ defense would be allowed to plea diminished capacity or insanity and more.

After sorting through 9,000 candidates for jury selection, the largest jury summons in U.S. history, and having to dismiss several jurors due to violating an order prohibiting jurors from talking to the press, Holmes’ trial officially started on April 27, 2015. Closing statements for the trial were made July 14 and jury deliberations started the following day.