Colorado Theater Shooter James Holmes Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder

James Holmes
James Holmes, who killed 12 in a 2012 massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., was found guilty of murder on July 16  Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Almost three years to the day after James Holmes opened fire in a crowded Colorado movie theater, killing 12 and leaving dozens of others hurt, a jury found him guilty of murder, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, July 16.

According to the AP, the jury deliberated for 13 hours over two days before reaching their decision. Holmes had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but prosecutors argued that the attack had been planned over a long period of time, and that the former Ph.D. student knew what he was doing. 

CNN notes that Holmes faced "two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 victims," as well as an additional 140 counts of attempted first-degree murder for those wounded in the massacre, and one count of "possession or control of an explosive or incendiary device." He could now face life in prison or the death penalty.

As reported at the time of the shooting in July 2012, Holmes opened fire during a packed midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., after first tossing a canister of tear gas into the room. Twelve people died, and many others were seriously injured.

After the tragedy, NYPD police commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters that Holmes had identified himself as "The Joker," and had even dyed his hair to look like the comic-book villain. Witnesses said he was dressed in all black and was wearing a mask to cover his face. 

"We were maybe 20 or 30 minutes into the movie and all you hear, first you smell smoke, everybody thought it was fireworks or something like that, and then you just see people dropping and the gunshots are constant," witness Christ Jones told ABC's Denver affiliate KMGH in 2012. "I heard at least 20 to 30 rounds within that minute or two."

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