Colorado prosecutors have reached the decision that James Holmes deserves to die for killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last July.
Their decision comes after Holmes’ offer to plead guilty to the shooting in exchange for receiving life in prison was rejected by prosecutors.
Arapahoe County district attorney George Brauchler said in court: “For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death.”
The key issue in the impending trial is Holmes’ mental health at the time of the shooting. Holmes’ defense team will try to prove that the 25-year-old former neuroscience student was legally insane when he carried out the brutal crime.
His lawyers have yet to enter an insanity plea, but they have made it clear that their defense will be based on his mental state. They have previously called him “mentally ill,” according to the New York Times.
The district attorneys made their decision after consulting with many of the victims and their families. When the prosecutors made their announcement, some of the victims’ family members began crying.
Bryan Beard lost his best friend, Alex Sullivan, in the shooting. He was pleased with the court’s decision. "I had a huge adrenaline rush," he said. "I love the choice, I love it, I love it ... I hope I'm in the room when he dies."
It could take years for the case to be resolved, a prospect that does not sit well with at least one of the victims.
"It could be 10 or 15 years before he's executed," said Pierce O'Farrill. He was shot three times during the attack. "I would be in my 40s, and I'm planning to have a family, and the thought of having to look back and reliving everything at that point in my life, it would be difficult."