SATURDAY UPDATE: 9NEWS:
The woman, known as juror 17, did not want to give her name. She says there was one firm holdout on the jury who did not want to sentence the shooter to death. Juror 17 says two others were on the fence.
“That person was solidly in that position we learned,” she said. “They weren’t sure but they probably would have discussed it further had the other juror not been solidly in favor of the life sentence.”
She said the holdout juror was a woman, but did not give the number of the juror. She believes mental illness may have been an issue.
District Attorney George Brauchler was joined by Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz and Aurora Fire Chief Mike Garcia, flanked by family members of the shooting victims, outside the courthouse Friday evening as he expressed his disappointment in the verdict.
“While I am disappointed with the outcome, I am not disappointed with the system,” he said.
As for the potential plea deal the defense offered shortly after he took office in early 2013, Brauchler said he was “open minded” to the idea. But, he said he told defense lawyers that if he was going to consider a deal, he would need to see Holmes’ medical records, the notebook he mailed to his therapist, and have a doctor of his choice examine Holmes.
The defense refused, he said.
Huge and unexpected news out of Arapahoe County this evening, Denver Post:
James Holmes will spend the rest of his life in a prison cell instead of dying in an execution chamber, jurors in the Aurora movie theater shooting trial decided Friday.
After deliberating for less than seven hours over two days, the jury of nine women and three men failed to unanimously agree that death is the appropriate punishment. The disagreement means Judge Carlos Samour Jr. will sentence Holmes to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murders of 12 people at the Century Aurora 16 theater three years ago.
We’ll update with statements and coverage as they come in–but clearly a major defeat for Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, who pushed for the death penalty in this case with higher political aspirations in mind and appears to have lost big. Here’s a Tweet from Jordan Ghawi, brother of Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi from before the verdict was announced:
This trial should have never happened. Defense offered a plea to life in prison, but political ambition trumped reason.
— Jordan Ghawi (@JordanGhawi) August 7, 2015
Stay tuned for more information. This decision will have a lasting impact on Colorado politics.