Colorado Theater Gunman James Holmes Sentenced to Life in Prison

Jury could not reach unanimous decision on death penalty after convicting Holmes of killing 12 and injuring 70 in 2012 massacre

James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people and wounded 70 more during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012, has been sentenced to life in prison by a Colorado jury.

After seven hours of deliberation, the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on whether to give Holmes the death penalty, meaning the court automatically imposed a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Holmes was found guilty on July 16 on 24 counts of first degree murder, two for each of his victims, after a nearly three-month trial. The jury rejected his lawyers’ argument that Holmes was not guilty by reason of insanity.

His lawyers admitted he was the gunman in court filings, but argued that their client “was in the throes of a psychotic episode when he committed the acts.” The guilty verdict came just days before the third anniversary of the attack, which occurred during a midnight screening of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 22, 2012.

Holmes, a former doctoral student in neuroscience, walked into the theater 30 minutes into the movie dressed in black tactical gear. He dropped two smoke-emitting canisters and then opened fire on the crowd with a 12-gauge shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle.

The shooting rampage was one of the most deadly in recent U.S. history, with the victims ranging in age from 6 to 51.

Last week, a man attacked patrons at a theater in Antioch, Tennessee. He sprayed tear gas and wounded a man with a hatchet before being killed by police. On July 23, a man killed two people at a screening of “Trainwreck” in Lafayette, Lousiana, and then took his own life.