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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Jury out in US cinema shooting case

James Holmes sits in Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colorado - 23 July 2012
James Holmes, 27, is a former neuroscience graduate student from California

Jurors have begun deliberating in the US trial of a man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others at a Colorado cinema in July 2012.

James Holmes, 27, was charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder for the shooting at a midnight premiere of a Batman film near Denver.

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He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but prosecutors say he was sane at the time of the incident.

Mr Holmes could face the death penalty if he is convicted.

Defence lawyers accept that he was the man who opened fire, but claim schizophrenia distorted his ability to tell right from wrong.

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Two state-appointed psychiatrists deemed Mr Holmes legally sane but mentally ill at the time of the shooting at the suburban movie theatre.

The jury, made up of nine women and three men, heard closing arguments from both sides on Wednesday in a case that has lasted nearly three months.

If they agree that Mr Holmes was mentally ill, he would avoid execution and probably spend the rest of his life in the state’s mental hospital in Pueblo, 100 miles (160 km) south of Denver.

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The former neuroscience graduate student from California did not testify in his own defence but jurors watched about 23 hours of video of interviews conducted with him by psychiatrists.

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