Judge formally sentences Colorado shooter to life in prison

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James Holmes appears in court to be formally sentenced, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. Victims and their families were given the opportunity to speak about the shooting and its effects on their lives. The formal sentencing began Monday at Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via AP, Pool)

James Holmes was an angry quitter who gave up on life and turned his hatred into murder and mayhem against innocent victims in a Colorado movie theater, Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. said on Wednesday before formally sentencing him to life in prison.

Samour formally sentenced Holmes to life in prison without parole for the murders of 12 people. He also was sentenced to more than to 3,200 additional years for attempted murder and an explosives conviction.

“It is almost impossible to comprehend how a human being is capable of such acts,” Samour said.

Samour also contrasted Holmes’ bloody assault with the compassion of a juror who voted for a life sentence instead of the death penalty.

The judge had no other sentencing option on the murder charges after a jury earlier this month did not unanimously agree that Holmes should get the death penalty. Samour issued his sentence after two days of testimony from survivors of the attack, including first responders.

But he first spent more than half an hour defending the integrity of the justice system and disputing complaints that the trial was a waste of time. He noted the proceedings gave family members an opportunity to tell the world about their slain loved ones and provided survivors the chance to talk about their ordeal.

The judge also said the trial was fair, even if some victims were disappointed that Holmes didn’t get the death penalty.

Samour disputed some victims’ suggestion that Holmes would have an easy life behind bars, noting prison is harsh and restrictive.

The formal sentencing followed two days of testimony from victims about the impact the shootings had on them, and a statement from Holmes’ mother, Arlene, that her son feels remorse for his deadly attack on a Colorado movie theater.

Story by the Associated Press