Emotional testimony in Colorado theatre shooting sentencing; death penalty at stake
Sadie Gurman, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, August 5, 2015 4:35AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 5, 2015 1:44PM EDT
CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Emotional testimony continued Wednesday as jurors consider whether to sentence the Colorado theatre shooting gunman to death.
Prosecutors hope the testimony will help persuade jurors to sentence James Holmes, now 27, to lethal injection. Death sentences in Colorado must be unanimous, so even one juror's objection to capital punishment will mean life without parole.
The July 2012 attack killed 12 people.
"I just feel like my family's broken," said 19-year-old Cierra Cowden, whose father was killed. She and her sister Brooke were also present during the midnight film when Holmes opened fire.
Mary Theresa Hoover said she moved out of the home where she raised her son, because it was too hard to live there without him. Amanda Medek, whose little sister was killed, can't bear to enter theatres.
Defence attorney Rebekka Higgs asked jurors not to "answer death with death," insisting that the crimes were caused by the psychotic breakdown of a mentally ill young man. She said life without parole is the morally appropriate response.
The judge told jurors not to be swayed by the emotional nature of the testimony. But some jurors clutched tissues and cried during Tuesday's testimony.
The last round of closing arguments could take place Thursday, and deliberations could begin Friday, attorneys on both sides said.
Associated Press Writer Dan Elliott contributed from Denver