Some victims' families 'feel betrayed' by jury's decision

KUSA - Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, the parents of Jessica Ghawi attended every day of the trial except one. From the beginning they said they didn't care if the shooter received life or death.

"I'm very sorry for the families who are in wheelchairs who will never have their full life back," Sandy Phillips said. "We've lost loved ones, no we didn't lose, our loved ones were ripped from us and they were slaughtered in that movie theater. The jury chose another way and we have to accept that. Today what was hard for me was accepting it for the others,those who are living with pain every single day."

Robert and Sue Sullivan, the grandparents of Veronica Moser-Sullivan, shared their disappointment with the jury's decision saying it will give Colorado an "ugly face."

"Unfortunately at least one juror did not vote for the death penalty," said Robert Sullivan. "Its going to give Colorado a very ugly face. When you look at what's happened in light of this, that's not justice. He's living, he's breathing and our loved ones are gone for over 3 years now, and the gaping void, the gaping wound that we have with the loss of our granddaughter has been replaced with a new abscess of him living."

Robert Sullivan says even if the jury had decided to sentence the defendant to death, he still wouldn't have closure.

"Even if he had gotten death, I've tried to resolve Veronica's death and I can't, you know there's just something with that, the loss that, it was the gaping wound, that's not going to go away. This just makes it worse."

Tom Teves, the father of Alex Teves also spoke out about the decision. He's says he was against the trial at first, but that it was something the victims' families deserved.

"When George and I talked about this a year and a half or 2 years ago I was against doing this but George had no choice," Teves said. "So don't go after and blame George because at least half of the victims' families were for this. They had the right to have this and I'm as disappointed for them as they are today because of this verdict."

The family AJ Boik says it wasn't what they had hoped for, but they're going to move forward.

"Our loved ones are gone, nothing is going to bring them back," said Dave Hoover, AJ Boik's Uncle. "The decision that was made was not one that I would have made or anyone else here probably would make but it was the decision that was made and tomorrow, something my mother said every day, before we put AJ in the ground was, there it is Dave, the sun comes up every day. Well tomorrow the sun is going to come up, we're going to have a little more pain and a little more hurt in our lives, but the sun will come up and there will still be love in our lives."

Michael White Sr., a survivor of the shooting who is credited with saving the life of his son's girlfriend, wanted the death penalty. He was in the courtroom when he learned that the shooter's life would be spared. 

"To think about what happened to my son, and what happened to other people ... for him to get ... not get the death penalty, there is something there that doesn't seem right," White said. "One of the other things I thought about as I looked at him in the courtroom is, I wondered, if he could go back in time, what would he do? Would he say 'I don't want to do this. I change my mind' or would he say, 'I need to plan it better?' That's always going through my mind, that decision." 

The Holmes family issued a statement through an attorney saying they were sorry that this happened and are sorry for the losses suffered by the victims and their families.

(© 2015 KUSA)


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