The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Keith Coffman

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (Reuters) — Condemning the movie massacre gunman to 12 life sentences and the maximum 3,318 years in prison for his rampage in a midnight screening of a Batman film, a Colorado judge on Wednesday said evil and mental illness were not mutually exclusive.

“It is the court’s intention that the defendant never set foot in free society again … If there was ever a case that warranted the maximum sentences, this is the case,” Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour said

“The defendant does not deserve any sympathy.”

Survivors and relatives of those killed clapped and cheered as Samour then ordered deputies to remove James Holmes from his courtroom, and the gunman was led away in shackles.

The 27-year-old was found guilty by a jury last month of murdering 12 people and wounding 70 in his rampage inside the packed screening a multiplex in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

The jury did not reach a unanimous decision on whether Holmes should be executed. That meant the former neuroscience graduate student, who had pleaded insanity, got a dozen automatic life sentences with no possibility of parole.

Samour still had to sentence Holmes on attempted murder counts and an explosives charge.

Condemning the shooter to the longest term he could issue, the judge said Holmes decided to “quit” in life, and that he set out to kill “as many innocents as possible.”

Samour said whatever illness Holmes may have suffered, there was overwhelming evidence that a significant part of his conduct had been driven by “moral obliquity, mental depravity … anger, hatred, revenge, or similar evil conditions.”

He said “the $64 million question” that still lingered was whether the defendant was afflicted by a mental condition, disease or defect, and if so, to what extent.

“We tend to like simple answers, but maybe it’s not so simple,” Samour said. “And maybe that’s because we’re not where we need to be in the fields of psychiatry and psychology.”

JUDGE PRAISES VICTIMS

After two days of often tearful and sometimes angry testimony from victims, District Attorney George Brauchler had called on Tuesday for Holmes to be given every day of the longest possible sentence.

The lead prosecutor also said he wished the court could order that the defendant spend the rest of his days in solitary confinement, surrounded by photos of the people he killed, but that it could not.

Samour said he had heard some people bemoan that the gunman would luxuriate in prison.

But he said he thought one of the victims summed it up best when he said being behind bars would be no picnic.

The judge said people could focus on the free food and medical care Holmes will receive. Or, he said, they could see the glass as half-full and consider he will be locked up for the rest of his days with serious, dangerous criminals.

“That doesn’t sound a like a four-star hotel to me,” Samour said.

Defense lawyers say they have no plans to appeal, and the judge said that meant they had “truly completed” the trial in a surprisingly short period of just over three years.

“That’s unheard of time for a death penalty case, especially one of this magnitude,” Samour said.

And the judge praised the victims, who he said had shown tremendous courage and grit, some of whom were disappointed that Holmes was not sentenced to death.

“You know your healing is not tied to the defendant’s fate,” Samour said.

“Even despite all the pain and suffering you’ve been through, you’re not quitting, and you’re hanging in there, and you’re fighting. You have my admiration.”

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Additional reporting and writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Toni Reinhold and David Gregorio)

Photo: Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes (2nd R) leaves court for the last time before beginning his life sentence with no chance of parole after a hearing in Centennial, Colorado August 26, 2015. REUTERS/RJ Sangosti/Pool

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Lindsey Graham, left and Rudy Giuliani

Youtube Screenshot

It’s not just the House Select Committee on January 6 that wants a better look at many of those involved in Donald Trump’s scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Thanks to their wide-ranging activities in many states, investigations are going on at the local, state, and federal level into actions that Trump’s team took in attempting to reverse the will of the American people.

No state may have borne more of Trump’s focused fury than Georgia. President Joe Biden carried the state by over 12,500 votes, making it second to Arizona when it comes to the the narrowest margin of victory. This was far outside the realm of possible change that might be addressed by a recount, but Georgia conducted a recount anyway. When that didn’t make things any better for Trump, he requested that Georgia count a third time, which it did. Trump still lost, and by a bigger number than ever.

Keep reading... Show less

J.R. Majewski

Youtube Screenshot

A Republican House candidate for a competitive seat in northwest Ohio said Monday that mass shootings are an acceptable price to pay for his right to own guns.

"I don't care if countries in Europe have less shootings because they don't have guns. I care about THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and OUR 2nd Amendment Rights," Republican J.R. Majewski tweeted Monday evening. "I think Americans stopped caring what Europe thought of our country in 1776."

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}