CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)– Jurors in the Aurora theater shooting trial on Friday asked to review graphic crime scene video taken inside the theater after the shooting.

The jury is deliberating whether James Holmes will get the death penalty or be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The same jury convicted Holmes on July 16 of two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 victims in the July 20, 2012 attack. That made him eligible for the death penalty.

LIVE VIDEO: Watch The Trial Live At CBS4’s Theater Shooting Trial Special Section

The defense objected to letting the panel of nine women and three men watch the 45-minute video again. They claim the gruesome images taken immediately after the massacre would be prejudicial.

(credit: courts.state.co.us)

(credit: courts.state.co.us)

Judge Carlos Samour, Jr. allowed the viewing of the video but said jurors would only have 50 minutes to watch the tape. He also gave them a warning not to let the evidence prejudice their deliberations.

CBS4 Legal Analyst Karen Steinhauser, a Denver defense attorney and former prosecutor, said the request may indicate the jury hasn’t made up their mind.

“I think it means that the jury is conflicted in terms of this ultimate decision and I think it means that there is at least one person who is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that death is the appropriate sentence and other jurors may be saying, ‘You need to look at this again,'” said Steinhauser.

“I think it’s a reminder of the horrific nature of the crime, part of the aggravating factors that were presented to this jury and perhaps jurors who are wanting the death penalty are hoping to convince others who are not persuaded that these actions, the actions that the defendant took that night, justify the death sentence.

“I think it’s absolutely too early to say but we do know that the jury is giving this case, giving their decision the time and consideration that a decision of this magnitude absolutely deserves,” said Steinhauser.

Jurors heard final closing arguments on Thursday and deliberated for about an hour before returning to court on Friday.


Leave a Reply