The man who attacked a theater showing The Dark Knight Rises three years ago will spend the rest of his life behind bars. A jury today failed to agree on the death penalty for James Holmes, who killed 12 moviegoers and wounded 70 others on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, CO. The jury of nine women and three men needed to agree unanimously for a death sentence. The same jury convicted him last month on all 165 charges — including 24 counts of first-degree murder — and this was the last stage of the penalty phase in which jurors were deciding between the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour read the verdict at 5:10 PM local time.
Colorado has only three inmates on death row and has carried out one execution in the past half-century.
The verdict likely closes the book on one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history; it was the worst ever in terms of the numbers of killed and injured. It was during a packed midnight screening of the third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy that the gunman attacked the crowd. Police say he propped open an exit door at the Century 16 multiplex and went to his nearby car to change clothes and load up with weapons and ammunition. When he returned, he threw a canister of tear gas and started shooting moviegoers with multiple guns. He only stopped shooting after one of the guns jammed. The gunman was arrested minutes after the attack.
Killed in the rampage were Micayla Medek (23 years old, cousin to Deadline Film Editor Anita Busch), Alex Teves (24), John Larimer (27), A.J. Boik (18), Jonathan Blunk (26), Matt McQuinn (27), Jessica Ghawi (24), Alex Sullivan (27), Jesse Childress (29), Gordon Cowden (51), Rebecca Ann Wingo (32) and 6-year-old Veronica-Moser Sullivan.