CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The convicted Aurora theater shooter received the maximum sentence Wednesday, 1,132 days after he slipped into a packed movie theater and opened fire in which he killed 12 people and injured 70 others.
James Holmes was sentenced to 12 consecutive life sentences plus 3,318 years in prison by Arapahoe County District Court judge Carlos Samour Jr. for the July 20, 2012, massacre.
The shooter received the maximum of 48 years in prison and five years of mandatory parole for the combined attempted murder counts for a total of 3,216 years. He also received 32 years in prison and five years of mandatory parole for the combined second-degree murder convictions for a total 96 years. He received six years for possession or control of a explosive or incendiary device.
After Samour handed down the sentence, he said, “Sheriff, get the defendant out of my courtroom, please,” then applause rang out from the gallery.
The shooter was convicted July 16 on 165 counts — including 24 counts of first-degree murder — by a nine-woman, three-man jury, which returned its verdict after nearly 13 hours of deliberations.
The shooter was eligible for the death penalty, but on Aug. 7, the jury declined that option, resulting in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. One holdout juror refused for vote for the death penalty and a unanimous verdict was needed for the death penalty sentence.
Holmes had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the 165 charges for opening fire in Theater 9 of the Century Aurora 16 movie theater during a midnight showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
The trial for the 27-year-old shooter began with jury selection on Jan. 20 and opening statements began on April 27. There were 256 witnesses called to testify, including dozens of victims of the shooting. The prosecution rested on June 19 after 34 days of testimony and the defense rested its case on July 10 after 12 court days.
In the penalty phase, the jury found four aggravating factors of the murder presented by the Arapahoe County District Attorney.
Despite hearing from all of Holmes’ family members, and more evidence of mental illness and schizophrenia put forth by the defense in phase two, the jury did not find mitigating circumstances of the murder outweighed the aggravating factors.
During two days of testimony during the formal sentencing hearing, more than 100 victim impact statements were made in the court, including Arlene Holmes, the shooter’s mother.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler and defense attorney Daniel King also made statements to the court.
Where the shooter will serve his sentence will determined at a later date.