July 20, 2012 – A person wearing a mask hurls a gas canister and begins firing into a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora. A total of 12 are killed and 70 injured. James Holmes is arrested behind the Century 16 theater, standing quietly next to his car.
July 23, 2012 – With his hair dyed a blazing reddish-orange, Holmes appears in court for the first time.
James Holmes in his first court appearance on July 23, 2012. (credit: RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images)
Sept. 22, 2012 – The first civil suits by victims filed against Cinemark, owner of Century 16. They claim lack of security contributed to the shooting.
Oct. 11, 2012 – Prosecutors finalize the charges against Holmes: 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder, two counts for each victim. He’s also charged with one count of possession of explosives and one of committing a crime of violence.
Nov. 13 or 15, 2012 – Holmes is taken to a hospital psychiatric ward because he is considered a danger to himself, his lawyers say. They later reveal Holmes was hospitalized a second time for “potential self-inflicted head injuries.”
Jan. 8, 2013 – Preliminary hearing begins with gripping testimony of shooting.
Jan. 10, 2013 – Judge rules there’s enough evidence to try Holmes on all counts.
Jan. 25, 2013 – Cinemark reopens theater where shooting happened after remodeling and now calls it Century Aurora.
Feb. 19, 2013 – Judge orders second psychiatric exam for Holmes saying the first exam was incomplete and inadequate.
March 27, 2013 – Court records indicate Holmes defense offered a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence.
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July 10, 2013 – Court records indicate the defense admits Holmes committed the mass shooting.
March 13, 2013 – Judge enters a not guilty plea on Holmes’ behalf after defense says he isn’t ready to enter a plea.
April 1, 2013 – Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty. Judge Carlos Samour is named to preside over trial, replacing Judge William Sylvester.
May 13, 2013 – Holmes’ lawyers ask the judge for permission to change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.
June 4, 2013 – Judge accepts insanity plea and orders Holmes to undergo a mental evaluation.
Sept. 16, 2013 – Deadline for Colorado Mental Health Institute to submit report on Holmes’ sanity.
Feb. 3, 2014 – Trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection. As many as 5,000 prospective jurors will be summoned. Judge has set aside four months for trial.
Aug. 16, 2014 – Federal judge allows civil suits to proceed.
Sept. 30, 2014 – Judge Carlos Samour allows trial to be televised with fixed in-court security camera.
Nov. 7, 2014 – Judge expands jury pool to 9,000 people to be summoned.
Dec. 19, 2014 – Holmes’ parents send The Denver Post a letter publicly asking that their son’s life be spared, saying he is severely mentally ill.
Jan. 20, 2015 – Jury selection begins.
April 14, 2015 – Nineteen women and nine men seated to serve as jurors and alternates for trial.
April 27, 2015 – Opening statements delivered.
April 28, 2015 – Testimony begins in the trial. The trial is expected to last for approximately five months but could be shorter.
June 9, 2015 – Three jurors are dismissed from the trial for juror misconduct after one juror admitted she had heard about the trial from her husband who mentioned something he saw on Facebook. The two other jurors heard the woman talking about it.
June 15, 2015 – A fourth juror was dismissed from the trial because the judge didn’t think she was being honest with him when she told him a family member had a tragic accident. Her story then changed when she then told the judge her brother-in-law was shot during a robbery attempt at an ATM.
June 17, 2015 – A fifth juror was dismissed from the trial because the judge said the juror didn’t reveal all the facts when she said she recognized a witness who testified in May. Judge Carlos A. Samour said he didn’t dismiss her earlier because he didn’t have all the information.
July 16, 2015 – Jury reaches verdict. Finds James Holmes guilty of first-degree murder, triggering the sentencing phase of trial.
July 22, 2015 – Sentencing phase of trial begins.
Aug. 7, 2015 – Jury reaches verdict in final sentencing phase of trial but could not agree on the death penalty. The sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for James Holmes was read at 5 p.m.
Aug. 24, 2015 – Sentencing hearing begins with emotional testimony from victims.
Aug. 26, 2015 – The theater shooting trial came to an end when the judge formally sentenced James Holmes 12 life sentences without the possibility of parole plus 3,318 years in prison to be served consecutively. It is the maximum sentence.
May 19, 2016 – The jury in a civil trial sides with Cinemark, court rules company isn’t liable for Aurora theater shooting and doesn’t have to pay the victims.