New York residents likely remember the shooting that occurred at a movie theater in Colorado on July 20, 2012. While moviegoers were watching "The Dark Knight Rises" in a Denver suburb, a man dressed in complete body armor entered the theater and began shooting. James Holmes, the man convicted for the shooting, was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Aug. 26.
During the midnight shooting, 12 people were killed and 70 others were injured. Holmes reportedly planned the attack and started gathering ammunition while he was a student in the postgraduate neuroscience program at the University of Colorado. Court documents also show that he set up explosives to detonate in his apartment as a diversion for first responders, but they did not go off.
Subsequently, Holmes pleaded not guilty because of insanity. He has been diagnosed with various types of schizophrenia, but after a 15-week trial that involved more than 300 witnesses and 2,700 pieces of evidence, the jury rejected his insanity plea in July after determining that he knew right from wrong at the time of the attack.
The judge passed down the maximum sentence, which included 12 consecutive life terms in prison without parole for the deaths. The death penalty was off the table after the jury could not unanimously agree to impose it, which is required under Colorado law. An additional 3,318 years were imposed for the attempted murder convictions related to the incident as well as for an explosives charge. It is reported that Holmes will be transferred to a state prison.
Murder and attempted murder charges are very serious. As such, they involve serious consequences for those who are convicted. Defendants might rely on criminal defense attorneys to represent them if they remain in police custody for the entirety of the proceedings. On behalf of the defendants, the attorneys may try to negotiate plea bargains to get their charges and sentences reduced.
Source: ABC News, "Colorado Theater Gunman's Sentencing Caps Grueling Trial", Sadie Gurman, Aug. 26, 2015