Jury signals that it will sentence James Holmes to death in theater shooting case

After less than three hours of deliberations, the jury in the James Holmes murder trial unanimously decided today that the evidence the defense presented in mitigation last week regarding his schizophrenia at the time he shot and killed 12 people and wounded 70 at the midnight showing of a new Batman film in Aurora, CO did not outweigh the evidence presented by the prosecution in aggravation about the nature of the crime.

The verdict shocked me because schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness characterized by delusional thinking that compromises a person’s ability to perceive reality accurately and react to it in a rational matter. People do not choose to be schizophrenic. Patients suffering from schizophrenia have difficulty managing their lives, even if they take their anti-psychotic medicine as prescribed. Many end up homeless and untreated until they are arrested by police and taken to jail for minor property offenses like trespassing or shoplifting. Only a small percentage of schizophrenics commit violent crimes. As in this case, there is no reason to think they would have committed the crime if they were not mentally ill.

Court will resume tomorrow to hear victim-impact testimony. The prosecution plans to call 15 witnesses to testify regarding how their lives have been impacted by the shootings. Given the verdict today, I think the jury is going to sentence him to death, regardless what the witnesses say.

This is one of those days when I feel like I do not know this country anymore.

12 Responses to Jury signals that it will sentence James Holmes to death in theater shooting case

  1. bettykath says:

    Good news. Holmes gets life in prison. The jury couldn’t unanimously agree to the death penalty.

    • I’m surprised since a week ago (before the victim impact testimony) the jury decided that the mitigation evidence did not outweigh the aggravation evidence. I suspect the change might be the due to the difference in believing you can kill someone versus actually doing it. Someone on that jury could not pull the proverbial trigger.

  2. bettykath says:

    There have been, and still are, times when people lust for blood. Consider the inquisitions. And the French revolution when crowds gathered for the guillotine. The witch trials of New England (not just Salem). I recently saw a picture of the last public execution in this country, a hanging, with a huge crowd gathered to watch. While there may be communities where all live in peace, tolerance, and harmony, most have those who hate, are intolerant of all and who have a blood lust for those they hate, however irrationally.

  3. racerrodig says:

    I don’t even know what to say on this. It’s beyond tragic this happened, BUT the mental help he was getting screwed up right on down the line and here we are.

    A man with mental issues, and by law as I understand it should be getting help and I don’t have a problem with life no parole. That’s an even worse sentence to some them death.

    It looks like the jury is making a statement here, not a decision.

  4. Rachael says:

    I haven’t known this country for a long time. 😥

  5. ed nelson says:

    I have a long time acaquantance who is ”special needs/ certified” and weirdly, I thought brought up the aforsfaid perp , who I didn’t remember off hand know, for the reason that he ”just wished he could be in charge of the punishment, including his inovative creativity for finding new tortures to apply”! I stepped back sort of agast, as I saw this as a cheap shot, in that there is no one to stand up for such a one fallen so completely low as one who comitted bad crimes. It opens up the flood gates for all sorts of ”folks” who are barely able to restrain the the rabid desire to… “Throw the first stone!!

    What anybody like that!

  6. Two sides to a story says:

    That is the depth of depravity in America speaking. We could have had stringent gun control laws to prevent James Holmes from buying guns to begin with, we could have a better mental health care system, but now people want to engage in state-sanctioned murder instead after many failures by the system to do what it’s supposed to be doing.

    May God or the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have mercy on this country, for it is headed down a sure path to further depravity and destruction.

    • Malisha says:

      I believe the free-floating misguided rage of the majority of citizens in our country, coupled with the false sense of power the psycho-pawns have adopted from TV, media and the “common wisdom,” have morphed into a violent, convulsing, destructive force that we probably cannot calm down, reign in or redirect, ever. But I don’t really know if this represents a big change in our psychosocial culture. We started, after all, as a genocidal sprinkle of abuse survivors misusing religion as the excuse for every misbehavior known to man. We then institutionalized our murderous and larcenous impulses into slavery and capitalist exploitation. After a brief hiccup or two of rational movement toward reform and progress, we appear to be rolling back the time machine and cranking out the money at an unstoppable rate. I am grateful to not have any grandchildren.

      • I’m hoping that the SCOTUS will soon decide that, due to evolving community standards of decency, imposing the death penalty on a person who was schizophrenic and delusional at the time of the murder violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

        I realize I’m delusional.

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