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'Batman' cinema shooter James Holmes found guilty, despite insanity plea

After being convicted on all 165 charges, Holmes could now face the death penalty.

Colorado Shooting 2012 file photo of Aurora shooter James Holmes. Source: Associated Press

A JURY IN the US state of Colorado has found James Holmes guilty of all 24 counts of murder, for the 2012 Aurora cinema massacre.

After a trial lasting two and a half months, the jury deliberated for just 13 hours.

In the end, they concluded that Holmes, nicknamed the ‘Batman killer’, was not insane when he opened fire on a packed Colorado cinema showing “The Dark Knight Rises” on 20 July, 2012.

As explained by local TV station 9 News, Holmes faced two counts for each person killed: first degree murder “after deliberation” and first degree murder “with extreme indifference.”

He also faced two charges each of attempted murder, for all 70 of those injured in the attack, as well as one count of possession of an explosive device, for booby-trapping his apartment.

Holmes was found guilty on all 165 counts, which took Judge Carlos Samour more than an hour to read out methodically.

Dressed in a blue shirt and beige khakis, Holmes stood impassively as Samour read each charge.

holmescourt Source: 9 News

Lawyers for the 27-year-old insisted he should be found not guilty by reason of insanity over the shootings, which killed 12 cinemagoers and injured 70 others in Aurora, just outside Denver.

Holmes has been in custody since he was arrested outside the crowded midnight screening.

The trial will now enter a sentencing phase, with testimony about whether he should be sent to prison for life or sentenced to death. Jurors will make that decision.

If he had been found not guilty, he would have been committed indefinitely to a state mental hospital.

His victims included two active-duty members of the US military, a single mother, a man celebrating his 27th birthday and an aspiring broadcaster who had survived a shopping centre shooting in Toronto.

Several died shielding friends or loved ones.

James Holmes 2013 file photo of James Holmes Source: AP

The trial offered a rare glimpse into the mind of a mass shooter, as most are killed by police, kill themselves or plead guilty.

Prosecutors argued that Holmes knew exactly what he was doing when he methodically gunned down strangers in the stadium-style theater, taking aim at those who fled.

They painted him as a calculated killer who sought to assuage his failures in school and romance with a mass murder that he believed would increase his personal worth.

He snapped photos of himself with fiery orange hair and scrawled his plans for the massacre in a spiral notebook he sent his university psychiatrist just hours before the attack, all in a calculated effort to be remembered, prosecutors said.

The prosecution called more than 200 witnesses over two months, more than 70 of them survivors, including some who were missing limbs and using wheelchairs. They recalled the panic to escape the black-clad gunman.

Contains reporting by AFP and the Associated Press.

Read: The mental state of Batman cinema shooter James Holmes is still being debated>

“Airport or movie theatre” – Read the chilling diary of the ‘Batman’ cinema killer>

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Dan MacGuill

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