If you were a betting man or woman and laid down money last Friday on convicted Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes getting the death penalty, most folks would have thought you made a wise wager.
As it turns out, the jury of nine women and three men came back with a life in prison without the possibility of parole verdict, stunning many who had followed the explosive trial for months.
According to the jury, they were unable to come to a unanimous verdict on each of the murder counts in the 2012 shootings at a midnight “Batman” screening in Aurora, Colo. That night of terror left 12 dead and 70 injured.
This was the same jury which rejected Holmes’ insanity defense earlier in the week, finding him capable of understanding right from wrong when he carried out one of the nation’s deadliest attacks in recent memory. The jury also concluded that Holmes’ crimes outweighed his mental illness claims prior to their final verdict.
If there ever was a poster boy for the death penalty, one would have thought Holmes fit that profile.
Defendant intended to kill more at his apartment
Along with the heinous murders Holmes committed in the early morning hours of July 20, 2012, he had also rigged his apartment with explosives, no doubt looking to kill law enforcement, firefighters, neighbors and anyone else who might have come to his apartment while he was killing people a short distance away.
The former Rancho Peñasquitos resident, a 2006 graduate of Westview High School, is scheduled to be sentenced later this month on myriad of counts for those he injured. Several of those injured that night have been confined to wheelchairs since the shootings, including one woman who lost her six-year-old in the theater and miscarried a baby as a result of that night’s terror.
If Colorado (and for that matter other states) are going to have the death penalty on the books (which I believe they should), should it not be used for the worst of the citizens out there?
James Holmes was in the early morning hours of July 20, 2012 one of the worst of the worst out there.
Not only did 12 people die at his hands (dozens more were injured), many families who lost loved ones or are taking care of those who survived with devastating injuries to this day, will never be the same.
As a nation, if we’re going to have the death penalty on the books to send a message to criminals, then we need to use it.
For the 12 jury members that decided otherwise for Holmes, here’s hoping they sleep well at night with their incorrect decision.