The Latest: Theater shooting victim's mom: 'I cry every day'

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Posted: Aug 04, 2015 7:42 PM
The Latest: Theater shooting victim's mom: 'I cry every day'

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

5:30 p.m.

The mother of an aspiring sports journalist who was killed in the Colorado theater shooting says she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has cried every day since the attack and probably always will.

Sandy Phillips testified Tuesday that just before the shooting, she exchanged texts with her daughter, 24-year-old Jessica Ghawi (GAH'-wee), who she planned to visit in Colorado the following week. Phillips said her daughter texted "I need my mama," to which she responded "I need my baby girl."

About 20 minutes later, Phillips said she received a call from one of her daughter's friends from inside the theater, saying there had been a shooting and that he had tried to save Ghawi's life.

Fighting back tears Tuesday, Phillips said she could hear screaming in the background. Her husband caught her as she slid to the floor when she learned of her daughter's death.

Since the July 20, 2012, attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others, Phillips said her husband takes care of her because she is not the same person she used to be.

She said she misses her daughter's constant texts and photos, but "most of all just her love. ... The way she loved her friends and her family."

Prosecutors are making their final push to have gunman James Holmes sentenced to death. Testimony has wrapped up for the day and will continue Wednesday.

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4:20 p.m.

The wife of a Navy veteran who was among 12 people killed in the Colorado movie theater shooting remembers crying and punching holes in her closet when she found out her husband was among the dead.

Chantel Blunk testified Tuesday that Jonathan Blunk, who she called "hubby," tried to be the best dad and always wanted his kids to look up to him as a super hero.

Chantel Blunk said that soon after the July 20, 2012 attack, the couple's kindergarten-aged daughter refused to leave her side because she thought her mom would die like her father.

Jonathan Blunk served three tours of duty in the Middle East. He was 26 when he was killed, and friends said he had plans to become a Navy SEAL.

Prosecutors are making their final push to have gunman James Holmes sentenced to death. But jurors could still vote for a life term in the final round of the sentencing phase, or one could be imposed if they all can't agree on the death penalty.

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3:45 p.m.

The mother of a Navy sailor who was killed in the Colorado movie theater shooting says she doesn't think she will ever take a family photo again because "it just jumps out at you who's missing."

Kathleen Larimer testified Tuesday that her son, John Larimer, had a smile that would light up a room, adding that "it wasn't because of the thousands of dollars of orthodonture. ... It was just amazing."

She remembered her son, who was 27 when he was killed in the July 2012 attack, as a man who had a strong sense of right and wrong. She said that when he was in high school, he played a reporter in "The Laramie Project," a play about the 1998 murder of a gay University of Wyoming student.

He also wrote a letter to the editor encouraging people to promote diversity.

Larimer was based at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, where he was a cryptologic technician. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, Illinois, and was the youngest of five siblings.

Prosecutors are making their final push to have gunman James Holmes sentenced to death.

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2:45 p.m.

The sister of a 23-year-old community college student killed in the Colorado theater shooting says the attack turned her into an only child, left her parents struggling with depression and anger, and kept her away from the movies.

Amanda Medek testified Tuesday that her loving younger sister, Micayla Medek, was her "grounding force." She says she selfishly misses having someone to talk to who knows her like only a sister could.

Her sister was killed on their grandmother's birthday. Medek says the family is still close and celebrates each other's lives but says celebrations are dulled and limited.

Medek's testimony came as prosecutors made their final push to have gunman James Holmes sentenced to death. It's the first time relatives of the 12 people killed have taken the stand.

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12 p.m.

The father of Colorado theater shooting victim Alex Sullivan says his son was also his best friend who joined him everywhere, from Super Bowl trips to U2 concerts.

Alex Sullivan was killed while celebrating his 27th birthday and wedding anniversary in the July 2012 attack. Since then, Tom Sullivan says his friends and their adult sons leave an empty seat and a glass of Jameson whiskey for Alex on an annual trip to Las Vegas.

Speaking in a shaky voice, the retired postal worker testified Tuesday that his son was "maybe every father's dream."

His testimony came as prosecutors made their final push to have gunman James Holmes sentenced to death.

While surviving victims testified during the trial phase, it's the first time jurors are getting to hear from families of the 12 people killed.

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11:15 a.m.

The ex-husband of a former Air Force linguist killed in the Colorado theater shooting says the 2012 attack left his daughters without a fearless, intelligent and strong-willed role model in their lives.

Robert Wingo testified Tuesday that 32-year-old Rebecca Wingo was a "fun mom" who didn't hover over her girls, now entering the third and eighth grades, but encouraged them to explore and be confident.

He says she would always have music on and sometimes served ice cream for dinner.

His testimony came as prosecutors make their final push to have gunman James Holmes sentenced to death.

Jurors could still vote for a life sentence or one could be imposed if they all can't agree on the death penalty.

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10:35 a.m.

Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial are back in court to hear testimony from relatives of those killed in the July 2012 attack.

The testimony Tuesday comes as prosecutors make their final push to have gunman James Holmes sentenced to death.

Jurors decided in less than three hours that no factors, such as Holmes' mental illness, outweighed the horror of the attack and called for a life sentence instead.

However, jurors could still vote for a life sentence in the final round or one could be imposed if they all can't agree on the death penalty.