Prosecutors announced Monday that they will seek the death penalty for James Holmes, the man charged with killing 12 and wounding dozens of others in last summer’s Colorado movie theater shooting spree. Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler said, “It’s my determination and my intention that in this case for James Eagan Holmes justice is death.”
The move was not unexpected, as the prosecution rejected a plea offer from Holmes’ lawyers last week. The offer would have exchanged life in prison without the possibility for parole for a guilty plea.
The New York Times reports:
The decision by the district attorney came after consultations with dozens of victims and their families. In the courtroom, some of the victims’ family members began crying at the prosecutors’ announcement.
One of those present in an overflow courtroom at the time of the announcement was Bryan Beard, whose best friend Alex Sullivan was killed in the attack. "I had a huge adrenaline rush," he said. "I love the choice, I love it, I love it ... I hope I'm in the room when he dies."
While the taking of a life is never something to be cheered, sometimes crimes are so horrific that the death penalty is the right way to go. It isn’t about bloodlust, it’s about justice and closure for the survivors, as well as for the friends and family members of the deceased.
Not to mention, it could be a deterrent to others with similar crimes in mind.
While Holmes has not yet been convicted as the perpetrator of the bloody massacre last July, little doubt remains that he was the gunman -- especially after trying for a plea bargain. He was arrested within minutes of the shooting, in the parking lot of the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora where victims lay dying. He was wearing black body armor and had a Glock handgun on the roof of his car.
Given the amount of evidence, not to mention the number of eyewitnesses, the trial and its outcome will likely hinge on the sanity issue. Holmes has not entered an insanity plea, but his attorneys have called him mentally ill and have dropped hints that their case will center around the former neuroscience student’s mental state at the time of the shooting.
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Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office