The Paw Print
Just days before the prosecution will announce their decision on whether to pursue the death penalty, Aurora theatre gunman James Holmes has decided to plea guilty. His plea is being made as part of a deal: if he takes the plea, he will spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole instead of facing the death penalty.
The deal is not certain yet. Prosecutors have not accepted nor declined the offer. Their decision will be announced during a hearing on April 1. For now, Holmes will wait. Previously, he pled not guilty as his attorneys argued that they are still exploring a mental health defense.
“Council will vigorously present and argue any and all appropriate defenses at a trial or sentencing proceeding, as necessary,” his attorneys stated.
On July 20, James Holmes opened fire in an Aurora movie theatre and killed twelve people, while injuring dozens more. Since last summer, Holmes’ fate has been debated, and families of victims find their views don’t quite match up. If the prosecution decides not to pursue the death penalty for Holmes, he will be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. While many feel that the death penalty is a harsh consequence that will do nothing but promote violence, Holmes’ crime was great, and many families of the victims desire the gunman to take responsibility for what he has done.
“I wish Holmes wasn’t alive,” says one father of an Aurora victim. “Death is too good for this man. I’m insulted we’ve let him get away with his crime this long.”
Though it is a strong viewpoint, the father is not alone. Sam Soudini, father of 23-year-old shooting survivor Farrah, was present at the preliminary hearing. Since then, he hasn’t have not been in attendance to any of court hearings, feeling that it is impossible to look Holmes in the eye.
“He is heartless. He is evil,” Soudini said vehemently. “Through an entire first day of the hearing, not one person in that room had a dry eye, except for [Holmes]. As far as I’m concerned, if he wants to be a robot, he should be deactivated.”
Other parents of victims do not agree with that standpoint. Though it is hard for them to witness Holmes, the man who killed their children, sitting alive just mere feet from them, they cannot bring themselves to wish death upon him.
“I just want to make sure he never walks the streets again,” said Scott Larimer, who lost his 27-year-old son John to Holmes’ gunfire. Theresa Hoover, mother of 18-year-old AJ Boik, agrees with Larimer’s views.
“Talking about [AJ’s] death helped me accept the fact that he’s gone,” Hoover admits. “I don’t think [Holmes] deserves to walk this Earth, but I don’t mind the thought of him being locked up for life, being forced to think about all that he’s done.”