The Arapahoe County, CO jury tasked with determining whether Aurora theater gunman James Holmes was legally insane when he carried out his rampage has reached a verdict of guilty of 12 counts of first degree murder, according to the Associated Press. Holmes is eligible for the death penalty.
On July 20, 2012, Holmes opened fire with an assault rifle in a crowded late-night screening of the film Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others.
Holmes, 27, a former graduate student in neuroscience never denied that he carried out the shooting, but plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Thursday is the 51st day of his trial.
UPDATE (6:57 p.m.): Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued a statement that said, "The same day a jury handed down its verdict on a man for carrying out mass murder in a Colorado movie theater, another went on a deadly rampage killing four American Marines. It’s time for Congress to forget about what the gun lobby wants and take action to keep Americans safe.”
Gross continued, "We’ve seen worshippers killed in church, children murdered at school, families destroyed in a movie theater and now Marines gunned down serving their country on U.S. soil. Eighty-nine people killed every single day by gun violence. At what point is Congress going to get its act together and do something? Enough is enough – it’s time for Congress to forget about what the gun lobby wants and take action to keep Americans safe by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. It is time for Congress to vote on H.R. 1217.”
UPDATE (8:15 p.m.): NBC reports that the sentencing phase of Holmes' trial begins next Wednesday and expected to take approximately a month. In addition to finding the defendant guilty of 12 counts of first degree murder, he was found guilty of 140 counts of attempted murder and one explosives count.
Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper released a statement that said, in part, "This has been an emotional and difficult time for the victims, their families, loved ones and friends. My hope is that this step brings some peace to each of them, and begins the healing process for all of Colorado."
The jury's foreman was juror number 737, who, it has been revealed, survived the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999.
Holmes was charged with 24 counts of attempted murder because prosecutors "brought separate charges of first-degree murder with intent and first-degree murder with extreme difference for each of the victims."
The 12 victims' names were: Jessica Ghawi, Jonathan Blunk, Alexander Boik, Jesse Childress, Gordon Cowden, John Thomas Larimer, Matthew McQuinn, Micayla Medek, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, Alex Sullivan, Alexander Teves and Rebecca Ann Wingo.