The Latest: Colorado theater shooter chooses not to testify

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Posted: Jul 29, 2015 7:23 PM
The Latest: Colorado theater shooter chooses not to testify

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — The latest in the sentencing phase of the Colorado theater shooting trial (all times local):

5 p.m.

Colorado theater shooter James Holmes has chosen not to testify in the latest phase of his sentencing hearing.

Holmes gave clear, direct answers when Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. asked about the decision Wednesday. Prosecutors would have had the opportunity to cross-examine Holmes had he chosen to testify.

Earlier in the day, Holmes' mother and father took the stand as his attorneys try to persuade jurors to spare his life.

Holmes was convicted earlier this month of 165 counts of murder, attempted murder and weapons charges for the July 2012 attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a packed movie theater.

His attorneys say he was suffering from a severe psychotic break at the time of the attack.

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4:35 p.m.

The mother of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes says her family remains supportive of her son, despite the attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

Arlene Holmes testified Wednesday that her brother Dex died about a month after the July 2012 attack, but "he definitely wanted Jim to know that he was thinking about him as he was dying ... and that he loved him."

She also testified that James Holmes' sister Chris is always wondering how he's doing, despite a relationship that was sometimes contentious when the siblings were growing up.

Arlene Holmes said she has seen her son only three times in jail since the attack because such visits require extra security, but she writes to him about once a week.

She also said she has never known her son to be mean-spirited or selfish.

The jury is considering whether James Holmes should serve life in prison without parole or be executed.

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2:30 p.m.

The mother of the Colorado theater shooter recalled how happy James Holmes was as a baby and how people who saw them on walks would tell her how lucky she was.

Arlene Holmes testified Wednesday to try to save her son's life during the sentencing phase of his trial. She repeated something else she's heard people say — that when your children turn 18, you're done.

But then she choked back tears, saying that's not true because "that's why we're sitting here."

She also recounted some family therapy sessions she and her children had participated in when they were young.

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1:30 p.m.

The mother of the Colorado theater shooting gunman says his psychiatrist never told them James Holmes had been talking about killing people when she called about a month before the attack.

Arlene Holmes' testimony at her son's sentencing represents her first public comments since the trial began.

Fighting back tears, she said she "would have been crawling on all fours" to reach her son in Colorado had she known her son was talking about killing. "We wouldn't be here" if Dr. Lynne Fenton had told them, she said.

Fenton testified earlier that she called his parents to help her decide whether he posed a danger to himself or others after he dropped out of school and quit his therapy.

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12:55 p.m.

The mother of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes is on the stand as his lawyers try to persuade jurors to spare his life.

Arlene Holmes has attended nearly every day of her son's trial along with her husband, Robert, but this is the first time she has testified or spoken publicly during the trial.

Her appearance follows testimony from her husband and their 22-year-old daughter this week.

The jury is considering whether James Holmes should serve life in prison without parole or be executed for killing 12 people and injuring 70 others at a crowded movie premiere in 2012.

Holmes' attorneys say he committed the crime because of a severe psychotic break.

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10:05 a.m.

The father of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes says his son "was not a violent person" until he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a packed movie premiere.

During testimony Wednesday, Robert Holmes referred to the 2012 attack as "the event" several times. In response to questions from a prosecutor, he said of his son wasn't violent "until the event."

Robert Holmes wrapped up his second day on the stand during the sentencing phase of his son's trial.

At one point, he mouthed something to his son and the two of them smiled before a sheriff's deputy told the elder Holmes to stop.

James Holmes' mother is expected to take the stand later in the day for her first comments since the trial began April 27.

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9:10 a.m.

The father of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes is back on the stand in the sentencing phase of his son's trial.

Robert Holmes is testifying for a second day Wednesday in an effort to spare his son's life. On Tuesday, he made his first public comments about his son since the trial began.

He said his son had an odd facial expression about seven months before the July 2012 attack and seeing his son's mug shot later reminded him of it.

Robert Holmes said he noticed his son grimacing and smirking in December 2011 and having a hard time making eye contact.

He said he's seen James Holmes in jail only three times because his son typically doesn't allow visitors.

During his first visit, Robert Holmes said his son "was clearly really messed up," with his eyes bulging and his pupils dilated.