CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Theater shooting survivors reacted to Thursday’s guilty verdict for the gunman as they expressed relief and support moving forward for the sentencing phase of the trial.
“Monday is a day to remember, it’s a day to pray and to have gratification for your life. It doesn’t get any easier but there’s also no changing it so you’ve got to accept and move on with your best foot forward,” said survivor Yousef Gharbi.READ MORE: Snow, Rain A Welcome Sight In Colorado But Drought Still A Big Problem
Nearly everyone was surprised to see the jury reach a verdict after only 12 hours of deliberation. James Holmes was convicted on all 165 counts for the July 20, 2012 shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 others injured.
It was an emotional trial from the beginning with the jury sitting through nearly three months of testimony from more than 250 witnesses, hours of video and graphic forensic evidence presentations.
When the jury entered the courtroom on Thursday afternoon before the verdict was announced, some were in tears. The moments before Judge Carlos A. Samour read the verdict the tension was almost palpable in the courtroom until an eruption of relief as he read the first “guilty.”
“As soon as you heard the first ‘guilty’ we knew all the dominoes were going to fall,” said Tom Sullivan, father of shooting victim Alex Sullivan. “There was really no doubt.”READ MORE: Colorado Community Uses 'The Social Dilemma' To Ignite Conversation About Unity, Change
Caleb Medley, critically injured in the shooting that left him a quadriplegic and barely able to talk indicated that yes, he was satisfied with the verdict after it was announced.
Families of the victims cried in court as they heard the judge announce the guilty verdict in conjunction with the names of those killed.
“There’s really not a word that works for what really just happened. I’m mean, we’re all happy that we got guilty but we’re all really sad that we’re all here,” said shooting survivor Katie Medley.
“We’re a family now, we really went through something crazy together and we’ve got to support each other,” said Gharbi.MORE NEWS: COVID In Denver: Vaccine Focus Continues In Underserved Communities
The judge told the victims and survivors they could leave the courtroom while the verdict was being read if they felt the emotions were too overwhelming. While some could not hold back their emotions, none of them left until the last charge had been read.