CENTENNIAL: James Holmes was ordered out of a Colorado courtroom in shackles to begin serving consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole for shooting dead 12 people in a packed “Batman” movie premiere.
District Judge Carlos Samour, who spent two days listening to statements from victims and survivors of the 2012 mass shooting, ordered Holmes, 27, to serve 12 consecutive sentences of life in prison for each of the dead.
“Get the defendant out of my courtroom, please,” Samour then said.
Samour’s stern tone was “the right exclamation point at the end of this case,” District Attorney and lead prosecutor George Brauchler told reporters.
Holmes will not appeal the sentences.
“By having the case completed with no appeals, it means the victims don’t have to be continuously hearing about the case or proceedings for the next decade or decades to come,” Samour added.
A jury earlier this month returned the recommendation for consecutive life sentences after being unable to agree on a death sentence for the former neuroscience graduate student.
Under Colorado law, Samour had no other choice but to order the life sentences.
He also ordered maximum sentences on the remaining guilty verdicts for attempted murder returned against Holmes for the 70 other people wounded in the rampage.
Samour spoke for nearly an hour about the justice system before imposing the sentences. The gallery broke out in applause at his ruling.
‘Die in custody’
The jury had twice rejected the defense’s arguments that Holmes was mentally ill when he opened fire on July 20, 2012 during the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.
The jury found that mental illness was not a mitigating factor.
Holmes was wearing body armor and was armed with numerous weapons when police arrested him outside the theater that fateful night.
Holmes has steadfastly refused to say anything in court in his own defense.
He first appeared in court with bright orange hair three years ago, but during the three-month-long trial he wore a neat shirt, jacket and pants and his hair and beard were dark brown.
He returned to court this week in red prison scrubs, his beard shorn. His hands were shackled to a chain around his waist and his legs also were shackled.
It will take the Colorado corrections agency up to 60 days to decide where to put Holmes.
Because of his diagnoses with various forms of schizophrenia, he could be placed in Colorado’s corrections department’s mental illness unit in Pueblo.
Samour said there was a slim chance that Holmes would ultimately be housed in an out-of-state facility.
Only one thing is sure, the judge said.
“The defendant is going to die in the custody of the Department of Corrections.”