Washington, Aug 8 (IANS) James Holmes, who shot dead 12 people at a movie theatre in Colorado three years ago, has been awarded life imprisonment with no parole.
Holmes was on Friday spared the death penalty for killing a dozen people and wounding 70 more inside a packed midnight showing of a Batman film. He was found guilty of 164 counts of murder and attempted murder, Xinhua reported.
The jury announced the decision after hearings by 306 witnesses, including first responders, family members of the victims, and even the parents of the mass murderer.
A total of 2,695 pieces of evidence were presented to the jury during the trial which took place over the past three months.
Families and friends of the victims sobbed in dismay, as the jury surprised the experts by giving the neuroscience graduate student life in prison instead of the death penalty as many predicted.
Holmes’ mother wept quietly when the decision was read out.
Several family members of the victims were angry upon hearing the verdict.
Judge Carlos Samour Jr. said: “We the jury do not have a unanimous, final sentencing verdict on this count and we the jury understand that as a result the court will impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.”
On July 20, 2012, Holmes, brandishing three weapons and dressed from head-to-toe in body armour, walked through the exit door of the Century 16 Theatre, which was showing the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” and pumped hundreds of bullets into the unsuspecting audience.