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Aurora theater shooter forced to listen to crying family members

Trevor Hughes
91影视
Convicted Aurora theater shooter James Holmes sits in court listening to survivors discuss the impact of his murderous rampage.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. 鈥 The convicted Aurora theater shooter sat silently for a second day as survivors and family members described the pain and suffering brought聽from his murderous rampage.

91影视 law allows victims and their families to describe how crimes impact them, and dozens of survivors are taking that opportunity before Judge Carlos Samour Jr. formally sentences James Holmes to life in prison.

A jury earlier this month decided Holmes would receive a life sentence after members were unable to unanimously decide to have him executed for the 12 murders committed at a suburban Denver movie theater on July 20, 2012.

Kathleen Larimer, whose son John was killed, referred to the hours after the attack as 鈥渉ell on Earth鈥 as families struggled to understand who had lived or died.

鈥淚 am so tired of crying,鈥 she told Samour, who must sentence Holmes for the murders and for booby-trapping his apartment in an effort to draw first-responders away from the nearby theater. Samour is expected to hand down the sentences Wednesday.

The cumulative sentence for those crimes could be in the thousands of years, although Holmes will instead serve the rest of his life in prison. Other survivors tearfully explained how fireworks displays, crowds and movie theaters are now potential sources of terror, and recounted their continuing struggles with PTSD caused by a man several have called "pure evil."

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan called the damage to the community "almost immeasurable," and said the shooting has overshadowed everything else about the city. Aurora provided free mental health counseling to residents impacted by the attack. Counseling was also offered to jurors following their deliberations.

Starting in April, jurors spent 15 weeks hearing evidence in the case against the former neuroscience doctoral student whom prosecutors argued was upset about failures in his personal and educational life. They say he made a calculated decision to attack the theater and decided to kill to聽improve his self-worth.

Defense lawyers said Holmes would have pleaded guilty two years ago if prosecutors had taken the death penalty off the table.

In an interview with a court-appointed psychiatrist, Holmes said he believed the attack would make people remember him.

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