Holmes to Face Death Penalty in Shooting

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Conspiracy, News, Propaganda News
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Holmes to Face Death Penalty in Shooting

CENTENNIAL, Colo.—Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, who has been accused of committing 12 first degree murders and scores of other crimes in a mass shooting at a movie theater near Denver in July.

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against James Holmes, accused of 12 first degree murders and scores of other crimes in a mass shooting at a movie theater near Denver last July. Ashby Jones reports. Photo: AP.

“For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death,” District Attorney George Brauchler said at a court hearing Monday.

The decision immediately prompted a delay in the trial, which had been set for August but is now scheduled to start next year. Prosecutors acknowledged in court Monday that a death-penalty case involves extra time for such matters as interviewing potential jurors about their position on capital punishment.

Mr. Holmes’s defense team said it would need months to prepare. “They are trying to execute our client,” Tamara Brady, one of Mr. Holmes’s public defenders, said in court. “We will do what we need to do to defend his life.”

Video From the Archive

Colorado prosecutors planned to file formal charges Monday against James Eagan Holmes, the former neuroscience student accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora movie theater. Ashby Jones has details on Lunch Break. Photo: AP.

Judge William Sylvester, who had been hearing the case since the shootings in Aurora, Colo., has entered a not-guilty plea for Mr. Holmes, but his lawyers have said they are considering an insanity defense.

Judge Sylvester said Monday that his duties as a chief district judge made it impossible for him to continue presiding now that “a final resolution of this case is now likely years away.”

He appointed a new judge, Carlos Samour, who took over immediately. He set a Feb. 3 trial date but acknowledged the defense may ask for that date to be pushed back and said the trial could take at least four months.

Prosecutors in a capital case must first persuade jurors of Mr. Holmes’s guilt, then, in a separate proceeding, convince the same jurors that aggravating circumstances such as multiple victims justify a death sentence. The defense can raise mitigating factors, such as his mental state, to try to persuade jurors to impose a sentence of life in prison instead.

In January, a retired prosecutor with experience in capital cases, Dan Zook, was appointed to lead the state’s case.

The decision to seek the death penalty came less than a week after a Colorado House committee narrowly voted to shelve a bill that would have abolished capital punishment in the state. The vote followed statements made by Gov. John Hickenlooper that indicated unease with the bill.

Within the last year, legislatures in two states—Connecticut and Maryland—have voted to abolish their death penalties.

Execution in Colorado is by lethal injection and hasn’t been carried out since 1997 on Gary Davis, who had been convicted of raping and murdering a woman in 1986. That execution was the first in Colorado in 30 years.

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