James Holmes, who murdered 12 people and injured 70 at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, began his trial on Jan. 20, 2.5 years after the incident.
Holmes committed mass murder in July of 2012 and is pleading insanity towards charges of murder, attempted murder, possessing explosive devices and using a deadly weapon for a crime, according to New York Daily News.
The trial of James Holmes hits close to home for many students at the University. Colorado ranks No. 6 out of the top ten states John Brown University students come from.
Junior Alyssa Garza was in the neighboring theater the night that the shooting occurred.
“What I remember happening was I went to the movies that night with my friend Brittany. We had originally planned on seeing the one right at midnight, but it just so happened to be sold out which was the one where the shooting happened. We bought tickets for a different theater showing five minutes later,” Garza said, remembering that fateful night.
“My friend’s mom is a cop and we got a text right once the movie started about where we were and if we were okay, but other than that we had no idea. Cops started coming into our theater and told us we needed to leave. They closed down the highways and wouldn’t let anybody leave until the guy was caught,” Garza said.
“Unfortunately I had someone I knew pass away in the shooting. We weren’t really close, but it’s still hard dealing with it. You never really get over an experience like that,” Garza recalled.
Garza said that it is still tough for her to walk into theatres, and she feels blessed that her and her friend were not harmed.
In response to the late court proceedings, Garza said that though it is frustrating, the late start gave time for wounds to heal.
The reason for the extension of Holmes trial laid in his psychological evaluation. The first evaluation, conducted in 2013, was thrown out by the prosecuting attorney because he believed the results were biased. Araphoe County District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. agreed with the prosecutors, dismissed evaluations and requested new ones.
The original results of the new evaluations were due Aug. 15, 2014, but the mental hospital could not have them ready until Oct. 15 of that same year; the day after the jurors where to be chosen. As a result, Judge Samour granted the prosecution an extension.
Senior AJ Durr said that it was frustrating to hear that it has taken this long.
“I have so many different feelings about it, because the process needs to work itself out and everyone deserves a fair trial, but just knowing what he did and how the families are suffering is hard,” Durr said.
Junior Salina Adolph said, “Right now I don’t think the death penalty should be used on anybody, because there are a lot of people think it might be an easier way out.”
“I think if someone has done something wrong, they should have to live out the consequences. The consequences will be there even after they die,” Adolph said.
Adolph added that she believes that it is not our job to decide who does and does not receive the death penalty.
According to the WashingtonPost.com, the court is reviewing 9,000 people to choose the best candidates to form the 12 individuals who will decide Holmes fate.
The state of Colorado is pressing for the death penalty. Recently Holmes’s parents have urged the judge to take the death penalty off the table. Holmes’ parents feel that the death penalty is “morally wrong.”