Aurora Theater Shooting

End of Aurora Theater Shooting Trial: "Get the Defendant Out of My Courtroom"

The first post in Westword's Aurora Theater Shooting archive was published early on July 20, 2012.

Its very simple headline reads, "Videos: Aurora Century 16 Shooting at The Dark Knight Rises."

Since then, we've published hundreds of posts about the horrific acts that took place that night, with topics including the first photos to surface of shooter James Holmes, stories about victims such as budding sportscaster Jessica Ghawi and the initial hearings in the case, during which it was announced that Holmes would face 24 counts of murder and 116 counts of attempted murder.

There were shocking reports about Facebook tribute pages to Holmes and an ultra-realistic Holmes Halloween mask being sold on eBay for $500. But there were also tale after tale of people and organizations — including — rallying around the victims and coming together as a community.

Simply put, what happened will never be forgotten by anyone in this area who was around at the time of the shootings. But yesterday — finally, blessedly — Holmes left the spotlight that has been shining on him for three years.

Earlier this month, the jury in the case decided that Holmes should spend the rest of his life in prison rather than be sentenced to death — a decision presumably inspired by evidence of his mental illness. That left a final series of hearings at which victims got the opportunity to share their thoughts. Then Judge Carlos Samour imposed his sentence — one so large that he had trouble doing the math.

"Running all the sentences consecutive and adding them all up, I believe the total comes to twelve life sentences without the possibility of parole, consecutive to each other and consecutive to 3,312 years in the Department of Corrections," Samour said. Then, after he a pause, he added, "Actually, it's 3,318. Excuse me."

After settling on the total, Samour went on: "I realize that I have imposed the maximum sentences. And somebody yesterday said, 'Judge, I want to make sure that whatever sentences you impose, that you are 100 percent sure that they are just and fair. And I am 100 percent sure that these are just and fair.

"I want to make it clear that it is the court's intention that the defendant never set foot in free society again. The intention of my sentences is that he spend every single day of the rest of his life in prison and that he be in prison without the possibility of parole. If there was ever a case that warranted the maximum sentences, this is the case. One of the victims said yesterday, 'The victim does not deserve any sympathy.' I wholeheartedly agree. The defendant does not deserve any sympathy, and for that reason, the court imposes the maximum sentences the court can impose under the law."

A few exchanges with prosecutors and Holmes's attorney followed, after which Samour stated, "Get the defendant out of my courtroom, please."

At that point, applause erupted in the courtroom and Holmes was led away.

Afterward, the 18th Judicial District issued a statement that included the names of all those killed or injured on that horrible night — and to all of them, we once again offer our sincere condolences.

Each name is included below, followed by raw footage of Samour's final statements, courtesy of NBC. To review Westword's coverage of the Aurora theater shooting from beginning to end (we hope), click here.
12 people were killed that night: Jonathan Blunk, Alexander Boik, Jesse Childress, Gordon Cowden, Jessica Ghawi, John Larimer, Matthew McQuinn, Micayla Medek, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, Alex Sullivan, Alexander Teves and Rebecca Wingo.

70 additional people survived their injuries sustained that night: Adan Avila Arredondo, Jennifer Avila Arredondo, Brandon Axelrod, Denise Axelrod, Kaylan Bailey, Stephen Barton, Toni Billapando, Christina Blache, Kelly Bowen, Jarell Brooks, Maria Carbonell, Alejandra Cardona Lamas, Shirley Clark, Corbin Dates, Louis Duran, Craig Enlund, Alex Espinoza, Evan Farris, Jacqueline Fry, Nickelas Gallup, Yousef Gharbi, Zackary Golditch, Munirih Gravelly, Eugene Han, Kirstin “K.C.” Han, Gage Hankins, Hailee Hensley, Amanda Hernandez-Memije, McKayla Hicks, Richelle Hill, Petra Hogan, Nathan Juranek, Jasmine Kennedy, Marcus Kizzar, Patricia Legarreta Rohrs, Kelly Lewis, Brenton Lowak, Ryan Lumba, Caleb Medley, Katie Medley, Anggiat Mora, Evan Morrison, Ashley Moser, Stefan Moton, Victor Edgar Nava Hernandez, Joshua Nowlan, Pierce O'Farrill, Prodeo Patria, Rita Paulina, Caitlin Peddicord, Bonnie Kathleen Pourciau Zoghbi, Christopher Rapoza, Carli Richards, Ethan Rohrs, Jamie Rohrs, Dion Rosborough, Carey Rottman, Lauren Shuler, Lucas Smith, Heather Snyder, Farrah Soudani, Catherine Streib, Daybra Thomas-Kizzar, Jamison Toews, Mark “Marcus” Weaver, Michael White, David Williams, Alleen Young, Jansen Young and Samantha Yowler. 

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts