Pay­ing the price

Real Crime - - Minute By Minute -

With Holmes in cus­tody, gun con­trol was again a hot topic. Mean­while, Aurora’s cit­i­zens had to pick up the pieces

For many Auro­rans life would never be the same. Even hard­ened po­lice of­fi­cers, ac­cus­tomed to see­ing vi­o­lent death, were ap­palled. Raid­ing Holmes’s apart­ment, they also had to deal with the nu­mer­ous IEDs Holmes him­self had warned them about. Ac­cord­ing to Po­lice Chief Daniel Oates, “It looks very so­phis­ti­cated, how it’s booby- trapped. It could be a very long wait.”

Bat­man star Chris­tian Bale qui­etly vis­ited Aurora, meet­ing vic­tims, their fam­i­lies and hos­pi­tal staff. Di­rec­tor Christo­pher Nolan also ex­pressed his hor­ror at what had hap­pened. In a 2018 in­ter­view Bale stated, “I have not been able to watch that film since be­cause of Aurora.”

As is usual after such an event, gun con­trol dom­i­nated head­lines. Why did Holmes as­sem­bling his ar­se­nal not raise any red flags? Why were his se­ri­ous per­son­al­ity and psy­chi­atric is­sues not han­dled dif­fer­ently? What could be done to pre­vent it hap­pen­ing again?

Aurora’s res­i­dents, once the me­dia cir­cus moved on, were left to carry on as best they could. Colorado gun sales rock­eted due to pub­lic fears – up 43 per cent the week after the shoot­ings. The Aurora Strong Re­silience Cen­ter was founded by lo­cal cit­i­zens, of­fer­ing ther­apy to sur­vivors and any­one else af­fected.

On 19 July 2018, a per­ma­nent me­mo­rial was ded­i­cated to the vic­tims. It’s sited near the Aurora Mu­nic­i­pal Cen­ter ara kilo­me­tre from the cinema. A park- like dell, it in­cludes 83 ab­stract birds, one for each vic­tim killed or in­jured.

After three years of pre- trial le­gal wran­gling, Holmes’s trial be­gan on 27 April 2015. Holmes avoided the death penalty de­spite pros­e­cu­tors orig­i­nally seek­ing it – the jury failed to unan­i­mously agree on such a penalty. On 26 Au­gust 2015 he re­ceived 12 life sen­tences with­out pa­role. An ad­di­tional 3,318 years were added on re­lated charges.

Ac­cord­ing to Judge Samour, it was “the in­ten­tion of the court that the de­fen­dant never sets foot in free so­ci­ety again.”

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