So said defense attorney Tamara Brady in her closing argument in the sentencing stage of mass murderer James Holmes’ trial, and after six-and-a-half hours of deliberations, the jury agreed.
Among the 12 people killed by Holmes were three guys who died guarding their girlfriends, two servicemen, an individual mother and Veronica, the youngest casualty – whose mother was paralyzed in the shooting, after which she also lost her unborn child.
Jurors answered the very first question in mid-July with a clear “Yes,” finding Holmes guilty on 165 charges, chiefly for murder or attempted murder.
The defense never denied that Holmes committed the crime and instead tried to persuade jurors that the former neuroscience graduate student was incredibly mentally ill at the time.
The expert witnesses called by the prosecution and the defense split on Holmes’ legal sanity, along with the jury ultimately declined to find him not guilty by reason of insanity.
After the jurors found Holmes guilty in July, they were next asked to determine whether “Mitigating factors” justified tempering their sentencing choices.
Holmes’ family pleaded for his life, and the defense presented more than 50 mitigating factors – including that all experts concur Holmes suffers from schizophrenia, is not faking his mental illness and would not have perpetrated the offense if he was healthy.
“These decisions,” Judge Samour told jurors before they retired to deliberate on Holmes’ destiny, “May well be the most crucial and serious choices that you will ever be asked to make.”
Colorado imposes the death penalty simply in rare conditions, having executed simply one prisoner in nearly 50 years, based on AP. In 2013, Gov. Hickenlooper given a temporary reprieve to Nathan Dunlap, the state’s longest-serving prisoner on death row, who, like Holmes, suffers from mental health issues.