A jury this morning rejected a plea for leniency, and moved one step closer to sentencing James Holmes to death for killing 12 people and injuring 70 others during a July 2012 screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in an Aurora, Colorado, theater.
According to USA Today, the same jurors who convicted Holmes last month on 24 counts of first-degree murder and 140 counts of attempted murder took just three hours to weigh the arguments for “mitigating factors” made by his attorneys.
The defense had called Holmes’ family members, school teachers and childhood friends to the stand over four days, hoping that his character and history of mental illness were enough to convince jurors that the 27-year-old former graduate student deserved life in prison rather than death.
The jury, however, was unmoved, which means the trial will move into its third and final phase, when Holmes’ fate will be decided. During that part, victims and their families will offer their own testimony.
Under Colorado law, if just one juror votes against the death penalty, Holmes will be sentenced to life in prison. The state has executed just one person since 1976,
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