Jury Begins Debating Whether Colorado Should Execute Theater Shooter This week jurors heard victim impact statements from family members of the 12 people James Holmes killed in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. They start death penalty deliberations today.
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Jury Begins Debating Whether Colorado Should Execute Theater Shooter

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Jury Begins Debating Whether Colorado Should Execute Theater Shooter

Jury Begins Debating Whether Colorado Should Execute Theater Shooter

Jury Begins Debating Whether Colorado Should Execute Theater Shooter

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/430221584/430221585" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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This week jurors heard victim impact statements from family members of the 12 people James Holmes killed in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. They start death penalty deliberations today.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's hear arguments for and against the death penalty for James Holmes. He's the man convicted of killing a dozen people at a midnight movie premiere in Colorado in 2012. The prosecution and defense offered final words before the jury decides Holmes's fate. Here's Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus.

BEN MARKUS, BYLINE: District Attorney George Brauchler reminded the jury of the epic scale of this trial - 300 witnesses testified over 15 weeks.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE BRAUCHLER: All of that leading to right now.

MARKUS: To this decision - whether the defendant gets death or life in prison without parole. Brauchler talked about the intricate planning Holmes put into the attack, purchasing an arsenal of weapons, using tear gas for crowd control and dressing in full body armor.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BRAUCHLER: He made sure that on July 20 one person and one person alone would be guaranteed to survive, and that was him.

MARKUS: Brauchler highlighted personal stories of the 12 who were killed as their families wept in the gallery.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BRAUCHLER: And for James Egan Holmes, justice is death.

MARKUS: When Holmes's public defender, Tamara Brady, began her closing argument, most victims' families got up and filed out of the courtroom. She said all the experts agree. Her client is mentally ill.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TAMARA BRADY: And the death of a seriously mentally ill man is not justice no matter how tragic the case is.

MARKUS: Brady argued a life sentence without parole was a severe punishment, that the death penalty would not bring the victims back.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BRADY: It doesn't make anyone feel better. It just adds to the death count.

MARKUS: Jurors will resume their deliberations this morning. For NPR News, I'm Ben Markus in Denver.

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