Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooter James Holmes gets 12 life sentences plus 3,318 years

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Aug. 26, 2015 at 1:47 PM
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CENTENNIAL, Colo., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- James Holmes, convicted and sentenced in the 2012 fatal shooting that left 12 dead and dozens injured in a Colorado movie theater, was sentenced to 3,318 years in prison on top of 12 life sentences.

Holmes, 27, stood silently in an Arapahoe County courtroom as the Judge Carlos Samour Jr. handed down the final sentence in the case that has dragged out over three years. A defense attorney said earlier this week Holmes will not appeal the conviction or sentence.

"Get the defendant out of my courtroom, please," Samour said after imposing the sentences.

Last month, a jury convicted Holmes of 24 counts of murder, two for each of his victims, for the attack on the Century Aurora 16 movie theater on July 20, 2012. The jury could not agree on the death penalty, so he received 12 life sentences. This recent hearing was held to address his sentence for the other convictions -- attempted murder and explosives possession.

In a statement after the reading of the sentences, Samour explained his decision, saying it was almost impossible to comprehend how a human being is capable of such acts and filled with such intense anger, hatred and revenge.

"If ever there was a case that warranted the maximum sentences, then this is the case," he said

Over the past three days, victims and their loved ones recounted their painful stories of the days and weeks following the shooting.

"Just because three years have past, it doesn't mean the lasting effect isn't present," Christina Blache, whose legs were shredded by bullets in the theater, wrote in a statement read in court.

The hearing was also a time for Holmes' mother Arlene to apologize for her son's actions, tellng the the crowded courtroom she and her husband Robert are in a "unique and unenviable position because we cry for James and we cry for thousands of people in Aurora."

"We cannot feel the depth of your pain. We can only listen to everything you have expressed, and we pray for you. We pray for your peace, your peace with the sentence. We pray for your ability to sleep at night, and your ability to find a single moment of happiness when that happiness seems completely elusive," she said.

Holmes opened fire during a a midnight showing of The Dark Night Rises at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater. Holmes, who has a history of mental illness, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

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