Theater shooting survivors call sentence unjust

The judge in the Colorado theater shooting trial chastised some survivors Monday for criticizing the outcome of the trail. 9NEWS at 6 p.m. 08/24/15.

ARAPAHOE COUNTY – The judge in the Colorado theater shooting trial chastised some survivors Monday for criticizing the outcome of the trial.

Survivors and witnesses of the 2012 movie theater attack are testifying in a final sentencing phase for shooter James Holmes. Though a jury sentenced him to life without parole for 12 counts of murder, the judge in the case is now hearing impact statements to set sentences on 141 other counts, including attempted murder.

Some survivors complained that Holmes will serve life in prison instead of being executed.

One mother of a shooting survivor called the life sentence unjust.

After her speech, District Judge Carlos Samour Jr. gave a lengthy rebuttal, saying that justice doesn't mean that victims get the outcome they want.

Samour said the jurors did their jobs, and that justice means giving the facts to a jury and accepting their decision.

Samour said: "If it was a popularity contest, then you could never have justice."

During Monday's hearing, the theater shooter looked like a prisoner again. The mass murderer was in an orange prison jumpsuit. During the trial, he wore normal civilian clothes.

The grandfather of the youngest victim of the attack asked the shooter to "do the correct thing for once" and petition the court to be executed by firing squad.
    
Robert Sullivan called the death of a child "a profound and unique horror all unto itself." He recalled his granddaughter, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, as a sweet, sensitive, angelic and innocent little girl who "has and will always remain in those hallowed reaches in my heart and mind."
    
With Veronica's photo displayed on the courtroom wall, Sullivan said, "I think of her soft brown eyes, so innocent, so sensitive, as if kissed by the summer's warm rays."

Others impacted by the massacre described their grief in other ways. 

 

"I have to go to counseling," Theresa Hoover, victim AJ Boik's mother, said. "I have to remember I have another son who I need to care for ... I'm missing a limb. I'm missing half my heart."

Greg Medek, victim Micayla Medek's father, detailed the struggle that came with his grief.

"You hide it from your family because they have their kids and you don't have yours," he said.

Watch the trial live:http://on9news.tv/live
    
Sonya Akutagawa remembered calling hospitals in a panic after the attack to try to find her niece, 32-year-old Rebecca Wingo. Wingo, who was killed in the shooting, was a single mother of two daughters.
    
Akutagawa said, "There was not any hate or anger in Becky's heart, and I know she wouldn't want anyone to carry that burden."
    
Also Monday, Amber Raney, who was in the theater, recounted hearing people screaming and said she has had constant nightmares about death since the attack. She added that she is now always cautious and aware of her surroundings, "but no person should ever have to feel like that."

Earlier this month, a 12-person jury sentenced the shooter to life in prison after it failed to come to a unanimous decision regarding the death penalty. One juror said the now-27-year-old's mental illness prevented her from giving him the state's greatest punishment. Two others were on the fence.

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That same jury rejected the defense's argument that the gunman was legally insane at the time of the attack, ultimately finding him guilty of all 165 counts back in July.

The prosecution is able to present a sentencing argument during this hearing, and the defense could present additional mitigating information to the court if it chooses.

The gunman could give a statement as well.

You can watch the hearing live Monday on 9NEWS.com.

TIMELINE: The prosecution's case

TIMELINE: The defense's case

(© 2015 KUSA and The Associated Press)


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