The Latest: Colorado theater shooting case goes to jury

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Posted: Jul 14, 2015 8:26 PM
The Latest: Colorado theater shooting case goes to jury

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The latest in closing arguments in the Colorado theater shooting case (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

The Colorado theater shooting trial has gone to the jury, which will begin deliberations Wednesday.

Jurors received the case Tuesday evening after closing arguments by prosecutors and the defense over whether James Holmes was legally insane at the time of the July 2012 attack. They'll start deliberating at 9 a.m.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting that killed 12 people and injured 70 during a packed midnight movie premiere.

If jurors agree that Holmes was legally insane at the time of the shooting, he'll be committed indefinitely to a state mental hospital.

If Holmes is convicted, the trial will enter a sentencing phase in which the jury must decide between life in prison or the death penalty.

Jurors heard nearly three months of testimony, including heartbreaking and sometimes gruesome survival stories.

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5:20 p.m.

The lead defense attorney in the Colorado theater shooting case says James Holmes struggled with mental illness for years before the attack in suburban Denver that killed 12 people and injured 70.

During closing arguments Tuesday, attorney Daniel King listed several signs of schizophrenia, including emotional and social withdrawal, blunted affect and lack of motivation. He says experts saw those symptoms in Holmes as early as high school.

King also played a handful of videos of Holmes speaking to psychiatrists after the July 2012 attack. One showed Holmes describing seeing strange dancing shadows while he was in a lab class as a neuroscience student.

Earlier in his closing arguments, King told jurors they can't divorce mental illness from the case because mental illness caused the attack.

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4:30 p.m.

Defense attorney Daniel King says the evidence is clear that mental illness, and nothing else, caused James Holmes to open fire on a crowded movie theater in suburban Denver.

King said during closing arguments Tuesday that the defense doesn't dispute that Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others during the July 2012 attack.

But he argues Holmes was psychotic, had lost touch with reality and couldn't control his thoughts, actions or perceptions at the time. King also asked jurors to accept the fact that people get sick.

Holmes, now 27, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Like the prosecution, defense attorneys have two hours to make their case during closing arguments. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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3:40 p.m.

An attorney for Colorado theater shooter James Holmes is making his closing argument to the jury in Holmes' death penalty trial.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the July 2012 shooting at a suburban Denver movie theater.

His attorneys argue he was gripped by a psychotic episode and didn't know right from wrong. If the jury agrees, Holmes would be committed indefinitely to the state mental hospital.

Prosecutors say Holmes carefully planned the attack, and they want jurors to convict him of multiple murder counts. They also are seeking the death penalty.

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3:30 p.m.

The district attorney in the Colorado theater shooting case has wrapped up the bulk of his closing arguments.

George Brauchler (BROCK'-ler) tried to persuade jurors to give more weight to the evaluations of James Holmes done by two court-appointed doctors than the ones complete by defense experts. The court-appointed psychiatrists, William Reid and Jeffrey Metzner, found Holmes was legally sane at the time of the 2012 attack.

Brauchler noted Reid and Metzner interviewed Holmes but also talked to many others in the case, including the defense experts. He says both have testified previously for both defendants and prosecutors.

Brauchler says the three defense experts aren't certified in forensic psychiatry and have only worked for defendants.

Brauchler plans to speak again for about a half-hour after the defense gives its closing arguments.

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2:15 p.m.

The district attorney in the Colorado theater shooting case says the fact that James Holmes has been diagnosed with mental illness doesn't mean he should be considered legally insane.

George Brauchler (BROCK'-ler) says whatever Holmes suffered from at the time of the attack nearly three years ago, it didn't impair his ability to tell right from wrong, the legal standard.

He pointed out that Holmes concealed his plan to attack the theater, and closed the blinds and used air fresheners as he booby-trapped his apartment.

Brauchler repeatedly referred to Holmes as "that guy" during his closing arguments Tuesday. He interspersed his remarks on the law and the evidence in the case with the stories and photos of the 12 people killed — just as prosecutors did in presenting evidence during the 2 ½ month trial.

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1:20 p.m.

The prosecution has begun its closing arguments in the death penalty trial of Colorado theater gunman James Holmes after making some last-minute changes following defense objections to the presentation.

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the July 2012 shooting at a suburban Denver movie theater.

Prosecutors say Holmes carefully planned the attack, and they want jurors to convict him of multiple murder counts. They also are seeking the death penalty.

Holmes' attorneys argue he was gripped by a psychotic episode and didn't know right from wrong. If the jury agrees, Holmes would be committed indefinitely to the state mental hospital.

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12:30 p.m.

Closing arguments in the Colorado theater shooting case are being delayed a bit as the judge considers the defense's objection to statements the prosecution plans to make.

Defense lawyer Daniel King objected to a number of District Attorney George Brauchler's planned arguments, including that the defense-hired experts who found James Holmes was insane at the time of the July 20, 2012, attack were "malleable." He also objected to prosecutors' plans to juxtapose images of wounded people with Holmes' statements to a psychiatrist that the people he hurt but didn't kill were "collateral damage."

Throughout the 2½-month trial, the defense has raised numerous objections to try to limit the amount of emotional evidence presented by prosecutors and to keep the focus on Holmes' sanity at the time of the attack.

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11:45 a.m.

Dozens of Colorado theater shooting victims and family members are in court for closing arguments in the case. Some wept as the judge read the names of the dead and wounded while he gave jurors instructions on how to deliberate. Sandy Phillips wore a green scarf that belonged to her daughter, Jessica Ghawi, who was killed. Caren and Tom Teves, whose son Alex was also among the dead, sat together holding hands.

Holmes' parents, Robert and Arlene Holmes, sat on the opposite side of the courtroom from the victims. Seated with them was Bob Autobee, who spoke out against the death penalty after his son, a Colorado prison guard, was killed by an inmate. He shook Robert Holmes' hand and hugged Arlene Holmes.

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10:35 a.m.

The judge in the Colorado theater shooting trial says jurors must distinguish between mental disease and passion growing out of anger in deciding whether James Holmes should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 70 others at a packed movie theater in July 2012.

Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. reminded jurors that prosecutors have the burden to prove that Holmes was legally sane and knew right from wrong when he committed the attack. Samour told them that Holmes would be sent to the state mental hospital if they find him not guilty by reason of insanity and that he wouldn't face further prosecution.

In giving the jury its instructions, Samour read the names of each victim as he went over the charges.

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9:50 a.m.

The judge in the Colorado theater shooting trial is instructing jurors on how they should deliberate the fate of gunman James Holmes in advance of closing arguments.

Judge Carlos A. Samour is expected to take about an hour to go over the directions Tuesday in the court in suburban Denver.

After that, prosecutors and then Holmes' lawyers will get their final chance to tell jurors about whether Holmes should be found guilty of multiple counts of murder, or not guilty by reason of insanity. The attack nearly three years ago killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

Deliberations aren't expected to start until Wednesday.