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Holmes won’t testify during penalty phase of Aurora theater massacre trial

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James Holmes

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — James Holmes, who could be sentenced to death for killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, told the judge Tuesday he will not testify for himself during the penalty phase of the trial.

Holmes told Judge Carlos Samour he voluntarily made his decision and was not pressured by his lawyers.

The monthlong penalty phase of Holmes’ trial is set to begin Wednesday.

The same jury that convicted him will deliberate during that phase. In 2013, the prosecution signaled it would seek the death penalty.

Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but the jury rejected that defense July 16 when it found Holmes guilty on 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder.

Additionally, he was found guilty of one count of possession or control of an explosive or incendiary device. He didn’t testify for himself during the first phase of the trial.

Authorities said he killed 12 people and wounded 70 on July 20, 2012, when he opened fire in a crowded movie theater showing “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Just after midnight, he started shooting with an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one .40 caliber handgun, authorities said. The shooting stopped with Holmes’ arrest outside the theater about seven minutes after the first 911 calls were made to police.

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