After just 13 hours of deliberation over a day and a half, jurors in the Aurora theater shooting trial handed down a definitive verdict this afternoon at the Arapahoe County Courthouse in Centennial: James Eagan Holmes is guilty on all counts.
Judge Carlos Samour Jr. stepped into the courtroom promptly at 4 p.m., and after calling the jury of nine women and three men into the chamber, started the hour-long process of reading each of the 165 counts, while the packed gallery waited in silence.
Holmes was found guilty on all 24 counts of murder in the first degree—two counts for each of the 12 people killed on July 20, 2012—one for murder in the first degree and one for murder in the first degree, extreme indifference. The defendant was also found guilty on 140 counts of attempted murder for wounding 70 individuals. Lastly, he was found guilty of possession or control of an explosive or incendiary device.
The 27-year-old defendant, who committed one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history when he attacked moviegoers at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at Century 16 Theater in Aurora, had pled not guilty by reason of insanity. With the guilty verdict, the jurors rejected the defense’s arguments that the former University of Colorado Ph.D. student was suffering from schizophrenia, and in the midst of a psychotic break when he committed the murders.
Now, the same jury panel must decide if he deserves the death penalty for his crimes. They will return on Wednesday at 8:40 a.m. to start the next round of deliberations.