'Batman' shooter gets 12 life sentences

James Holmes leaving the courtroom on Wednesday. He killed 12 people in the 2012 cinema massacre.
James Holmes leaving the courtroom on Wednesday. He killed 12 people in the 2012 cinema massacre.PHOTO: REUTERS

CENTENNIAL (Colorado) • James Holmes was ordered out of a courtroom in shackles on Wednesday to start serving consecutive life sentences, with no possibility of parole, for shooting dead 12 people at a packed Batman movie premiere.

After two days of statements from victims and survivors of the 2012 mass shooting, District Judge Carlos Samour ordered Holmes, 27, to serve 12 life sentences in a row, one for each of the dead.

He then said: "Get the defendant out of my courtroom, please."

His stern tone was "the right exclamation point at the end of this case", District Attorney George Brauchler told reporters.

Holmes will not appeal against the sentences.

A jury earlier this month returned the recommendation for consecutive life sentences - the jurors were unable to agree on a death sentence for the former neuroscience graduate student.

Under state law, Judge Samour had no choice but to order the life sentences. He ordered maximum sentences for the guilty verdicts for attempted murder that were returned against Holmes for the 70 other people hurt in the rampage.

The judge spoke for nearly an hour about the justice system before the ruling, which saw the gallery break out in applause.

Holmes has steadfastly refused to say anything in court in his own defence. Three years ago, at his first court appearance, he sported bright orange hair. For the three-month-long trial, he was dressed neatly, and his hair and beard were dark brown. He returned to court this week in red prison scrubs, his beard shorn. His hands and legs were shackled.

It will take the state corrections agency up to 60 days to decide where to put Holmes, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He could be placed at the mental illness unit in Pueblo. Judge Samour said there was a slim chance that he would ultimately be housed at an out-of-state facility.

Whatever the outcome, Holmes would " die in the custody of the Department of Corrections", the judge said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2015, with the headline ''Batman' shooter gets 12 life sentences'. Print Edition | Subscribe