Colo. movie massacre gunman found guilty of multiple murders

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Jury Convicts Aurora Theater Shooter Of First-Degree Murder

CENTENNIAL, COLO. (Reuters) -- Colorado movie massacre gunman James Holmes was found guilty on Thursday of multiple counts of first degree murder and attempted murder, a verdict that enables prosecutors to seek the death penalty for the former graduate student who killed a dozen people and wounded 70 at a midnight premiere of a Batman film in 2012.

After a three-month trial in which they were presented with thousands of pieces of evidence and testimony from hundreds of witnesses, jurors deliberated for about a day and a half, then handed prosecutors a big win. The panel of nine women and three men rejected the defense's claim that Holmes was legally insane.

SEE: Reactions to verdict:

7 PHOTOS
Reactions to Colo. theater shooting verdict
See Gallery
Colo. movie massacre gunman found guilty of multiple murders
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Tom Teves, the father of Aurora shooting victim Alex Teves, is iterviewed after a verdict was delivered in the trial of James Holmes at the Arapahoe County Justice Center on July 16, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes was found guilty on all counts in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16 : Aurora shooting victim Caleb Medley, in wheelchair, surround by his father Otis, behind him and his wife Katie, behind him, smiles as they talk with members of the press outside the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colorado on July 16, 2015. James Holmes was found guilty on all 165 counts against him in Aurora theater shooting trial. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Aurora theater shooting survivor Yousef Gharbi speaks during a press conference after the guilty verdict in the James Holmes theater shooting trial at the Arapahoe County Justice Center July 16, 2015. Holmes is accused of killing twelve people and injuring over 70 in the July 20, 2012 shooting at the Century 16 movie theater. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Jansen Young, an Aurora shooting victim whose boyfriend was killed, speaks after a verdict was delivered in the trial of James Holmes at the Arapahoe County Justice Center on July 16, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes was found guilty on all counts in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16 : Aurora theatre shooting victim Joshua Nowlan, hugs Marlene Knobbe, right, grandmother of shooting victim Micayla Medek, as they arrive at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colorado on July 16, 2015. After only two days of deliberation the jury has come back with a verdict in the James Holmes Aurora theatre shooting case. That verdict will be announced around 4:15 mountain standard time. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16 : Aurora shooting victim Caleb Medley, in wheelchair, surround by his father Otis, behind him and his wife Katie, behind him, makes the Vulcan salute or the live long and prosper sign from Star Trek as they talk with members of the press outside the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colorado on July 16, 2015. James Holmes was found guilty on all 165 counts against him in Aurora theater shooting trial. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Holmes showed no reaction as the lengthy, multi-count verdict was read by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour. The gunman stood beside his court-appointed attorneys, looking straight ahead with his hands in his pockets.

The trial now enters the punishment phase, when the jury must determine whether Holmes, 27, should be put to death or serve a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole.

The defense conceded that Holmes was the shooter, but presented expert witnesses who testified that the former neuroscience student was not in control of his actions because he suffered from schizophrenia and heard voices ordering him to kill.

The prosecution presented two court-appointed psychiatrists who concluded Holmes was legally sane when he plotted and carried out the July 2012 rampage at a multiplex in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

District Attorney George Brauchler said the gunman was unusually intelligent but socially inept, and harbored a long-standing hatred of humanity.

Brauchler said Holmes could not take it when he did poorly on exams at the University of Colorado, and broke up with the only girlfriend he had ever been intimate with.

The prosecution argued that Holmes' detailed preparations for the attack showed he knew what he was doing, and knew it was wrong. They presented evidence about his purchases of guns, tear gas and body armor. They also showed how he conducted online research into bomb-making so he could booby-trap his apartment before he left for the cinema.

ALSO SEE: Photos from 11-week trial:

4 PHOTOS
James Holmes 'Dark Knight' Colo. theater shooting trial, Aurora, Colorado
See Gallery
Colo. movie massacre gunman found guilty of multiple murders
CENTENNIAL, CO - APRIL 27: Family members of Aurora Theater shooting victim Veronica Moser walk into the Arapahoe County Justice Center as opening arguments for the trial of Aurora Theater Shooting defendant James Holmes opened at the courthouse April 27, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes faces multiple murder charges stemming from a mass shooting in July 2012 theater shooting that killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - APRIL 27: Members of the media film people walking into the Arapahoe County Justice Center as opening arguments for the trial of Aurora Theater Shooting defendant James Holmes opened at the courthouse April 27, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes faces multiple murder charges stemming from a mass shooting in July 2012 theater shooting that killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - APRIL 27: Producers at Denver Post TV listen and take notes from the courtroom live feed of proceedings as opening arguments for the trial of Aurora Theater Shooting defendant James Holmes opened at the Arapahoe County Justice Center April 27, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes faces multiple murder charges stemming from a mass shooting in July 2012 theater shooting that killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others. Holmes is seated at the very far left of the television screen. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Holmes rigged the bombs and turned loud music on the stereo, hoping someone would open the door and trigger a deadly blast. The devices were later defused by a police bomb squad.

Sobs filled the courtroom during the trial as dozens of wounded survivors testified about hiding behind plastic chairs from the hail of bullets, and stumbling over the bodies of loved ones as they fled the theater.

Brauchler showed photos of the dead during his closing argument. His voice broke and he wiped his eyes.

"That guy, sitting right there," he said, pointing at Holmes. "He did this."

'OVERWHELMING' FIREPOWER

When he went to Aurora's Century 16 multiplex, Holmes was dressed head to toe in a gas mask, helmet and body armor. He lobbed a teargas canister into the screening, then opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle, pump action shotgun and pistol.

He was listening to loud techno music on headphones at the time, "to block out the screams," the prosecution had said.

Holmes declined to testify in his own defense, but jurors did watch more than 22 hours of a videotaped sanity examination conducted by one of the two court-appointed psychiatrists.

In the video, Holmes confirmed most of the details of the mass shooting, including his purchase of the weapons and his plan to draw police and other first responders away from the theater by blowing up his apartment.

Brauchler, during his closing argument this week, read to the jury mundane emails which Holmes sent to his parents discussing everyday topics, including the weather and a savings account, all while he was steadily amassing "overwhelming" firepower, steel-penetrating rounds, and bomb-making materials.

Holmes, who graduated with honors from the University of California, Riverside, had no previous criminal record.

He had been courted by neuroscience doctoral programs, but had been seeing a school psychiatrist and dropped out of a graduate program at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora just weeks before the attack.

Days after the rampage, the defendant first appeared in the same small, windowless courtroom in Centennial, another Denver suburb. At that time, he looked wide-eyed and disoriented, and with his hair dyed red. He has put on weight since then, and his hair has returned to its natural brown color.

See data about mass shootings in the U.S. over time:

More from AOL.com:
SeaWorld suspends worker accused of posing as PETA activist
Calif.'s professional cheerleaders now officially entitled to minimum wage
Obama visits prison to call for a fairer justice system

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners