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sabato 8 agosto 2015

James Holmes spared death penalty for US cinema killings

BBC News
A jury in the US state of Colorado has spared gunman James Holmes the death penalty for killing 12 people at a screening of a Batman film in 2012.
He will serve life in jail without the possibility of parole.

James Holmes
The defence team had argued that the former neuroscience graduate student, now 27, was insane at the time.

The jury agreed with prosecutors that Holmes, though mentally ill, was responsible for his actions. But it was not unanimous on the death penalty.

That lack of agreement meant the jury accepted he would receive an automatic life sentence without parole.

One juror later told NBC News that two members of the jury were "on the fence" about the death penalty but that another was adamantly opposed on the grounds of mental illness.

"We ended our deliberations when one absolutely would not move," the juror said.

The decision of the jury - a panel of nine women and three men - was revealed by Judge Carlos Samour in a courtroom in the city of Centennial on Friday.

As the verdict was read out, Holmes' mother Arlene leaned her head against her husband's shoulder and began sobbing, the AP news agency reported.

Ashley Moser, whose six-year-old daughter Veronica died in the attack and who was herself paralysed, shook her head and then slowly leaned it against the wheelchair of another paralysed victim.

"We just have to deal with it and accept it," said Robert Sullivan, Veronica's grandfather. "He's living. He's breathing and our loved ones are gone. The gaping void we have for our grand-daughter has been replaced with a new abscess of him living."

District Attorney George Brauchler said: "I still think death is justice for what that guy did, but the system said otherwise. I honour that, and I'll respect that outcome."

During his three-month trial, Holmes declined to testify in his own defence or to make a statement expressing his remorse.

The sentence is expected to be imposed formally at a later hearing.

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