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Aurora Theater Shooter James Holmes Gets Life In Prison Without Parole

Photo caption:

Photo by RJ Sangosti AP

James Holmes, seen during his initial court appearance after the theater shooting spree in 2012, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

James Holmes will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The jurors who convicted him of murdering a dozen people and trying to kill 70 more at a midnight movie three years ago could not agree on a death sentence.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for less than seven hours over two days.

As the Denver Post reported, there were only two options for the jury:

"In order for Holmes to be sentenced to execution, the jurors must unanimously agree that death is the appropriate punishment for the man who killed 12 people inside the Century Aurora 16 theater on July 20, 2012. If they do not, Holmes will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole."

The sentencing decision comes on the heels of more than three months of testimony that was often emotional as survivors and families of those killed recalled how their lives were ripped apart by one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history.

Earlier in the day, jurors asked to watch a 45-minute video of the graphic crime scene shot by police investigating the shooting rampage. The attorneys for Holmes objected, saying the video was too gruesome, and argued it could influence the jury's decision.

The judge, however, ruled the jurors could view it, but only once.

Colorado Public Radio reports:

"During the sentencing phase, the defense told jurors that the shooting was caused by the psychotic breakdown of a mentally ill young man. The nine women and three men also listened to the stories of the children, spouses and parents of the 12 people killed and how their lives were changed forever by the attack."

In July 2012, Holmes burst into the Century Aurora movie complex dressed in head-to-toe body armor and fired 76 shots, killing 10 people. Two more died not long after police arrived.

As we reported last month, the guilty verdict came nearly three years to the day of the shooting.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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