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Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes guilty of mass murder

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Colorado cinema gunman James Holmes guilty of mass murder


The man who shot dead 12 cinema-goers and wounded 70 during the midnight premiere of a Batman film in the US in 2012 has been found guilty of multiple counts of first degree murder.

Former neuroscience student James Holmes was convicted of all 165 counts against him by a jury who rejected the defence’s claim that he was legally insane.

Monday is the third anniversary of the massacre at the multiplex cinema in the Denver suburb of Aurora in Colorado.

Wearing body armour, helmet and mask, the gunman, now 27, lobbed a tear gas canister into the theatre before opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle, pump action shotgun and pistol.

Dozens of survivors testified in court about how they hid behind seats from a hail of bullets and scrambled over bodies as they tried to flee.

Holmes didn’t give evidence but two psychiatrists concluded that he was legally sane.
The District Attorney, who described him as unusually intelligent but socially inept, said he had a long-standing hatred of humanity.

Experts called by the defence argued the gunman was not in control of his actions as he suffered from schizophrenia and heard voices ordering him to kill.

But the prosecution argued that Holmes’ detailed preparations showed he knew what he was doing and that it was wrong. They presented evidence of his purchases of guns, and showed how he conducted online research into bomb-making so that he could booby-trap his apartment to try to distract police from his planned rampage at the cinema.

Jurors must now decide whether the murderer should be put to death or serve a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole, in a process expected to last until late August.

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