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On Thursday, a jury found James Holmes guilty of murder in the first degree for the killings of a dozen people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July of 2012. He will now enter the sentencing phase of his trial which will decide whether he will spend life in prison without parole or face the death penalty.

 

Holmes had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and jurors heard testimony from psychiatric experts called by both the court and the defense. Holmes’ attorneys argued that he suffered from schizophrenia and was in the midst of a psychotic episode at the time of the shootings that propelled him to kill. They drew on testimony from doctors and jail workers who described his bizarre behavior, such as referring to himself as “the Joker,” before and after the attack.

 

But prosecutors focused on his elaborate planning of the attack and the forethought that went into rigging his apartment with explosives as an elaborate booby trap to show that even if he was severely mentally ill, he knew right from wrong at the time of the attack.

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