Ex-Friend of Columbine Shooters Among 24 Jurors Chosen for James Holmes Trial

The jury box in the courtroom where the James Holmes trial will take place. Additional images and a video below.
The jury box in the courtroom where the James Holmes trial will take place. Additional images and a video below.

Back in February, questioning of jurors in the trial of James Holmes, the shooter in the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting, got underway.

Just over two months later, 24 jurors — twelve who'll serve as the jury, plus twelve alternates — have been selected.

The nineteen women and five men, whose identities will be protected throughout the proceedings, are overwhelmingly Caucasian; there's only one Hispanic and no African-Americans. However, their backgrounds are extremely diverse, representing professions as different as an active member of the military and the manager of a Bed, Bath and Beyond.

In addition, two jurors have connections to the 1999 attack on Columbine High School, a horrific incident that resulted in the murders of thirteen people and 21 injuries. Holmes is accused of killing twelve and injuring seventy during his attack amid a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises at the Aurora Century 16 theater.

Here's how Fox31 describes juror 535, a white woman in her fifties who'll fill seat five:

This juror has a niece who was in the cafeteria during the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Her sister —  that niece’s mother — has called Holmes a coward. A store this juror used to manage is near the Century 16 theater, where Holmes opened fire in July 2012. This woman was once married to a police officer. After her divorce from that man, she said she ended up in a psychiatric ward, where she interacted with many individuals who suffered from mental illness. This woman has had a spinal infusion and uses a spinal stimulator, and the court said it will make accommodations for her. She said she would have to cancel a pre-planned trip to Disney World with her grandchildren, but other than that she claimed no hardship.

James Holmes and attorney Daniel King during a previous court appearance.
James Holmes and attorney Daniel King during a previous court appearance.

And here's the description offered by NBC:

A middle-age white woman formerly married to a San Antonio, Texas, police officer. She said she was hospitalized for being a danger to herself in a bout of depression after her divorce. She said a niece was in cafeteria at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and injured 21 other people.

As for juror 737, a young man who'll fill seat seventeen, this is the way Fox31 describes him:

This juror is a survivor of the Columbine shooting. Not only did he go to a school dance with one of the victims who was killed in shooting, he said he was friends at one point in time with both shooters. He said he has gone through extensive therapy to get past the trauma he suffered and said a wave of doubt hit him when he got his jury summons for this case. But he said his experiences with that tragedy would make him an expert juror in this case, as he said he knows about the horror the shooting caused as well as the mental health struggles both shooters faced.

A wider look at the courtroom.
A wider look at the courtroom.

NBC expands on the description like so:

A white man in his 20s or 30s who was at Columbine High School during the 1999 massacre. He said Harris and Klebold were his best friends through the eighth grade and that one of their victims was his prom date and best friend in high school. He said he spent 10 years in therapy after the shootings and was concerned that he might not be able to handle the evidence.

To put it mildly, these two jurors are demonstrating tremendous personal bravery to take on the task of judging Holmes, who's pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and could face the death penalty if convicted.

But the same is true of the 22 other jurors and alternates.

Beginning on April 27, the scheduled start of the trial, they'll be asked to examine unimaginable terror and heartbreak for what's expected to be months.

Here's a Fox31 video about the jury selection.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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