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Jury Reaches Verdict on Whether James Holmes Gets Death Penalty

It is the same jury that convicted Holmes of 24 counts of first-degree murder in the July 2012, massacre at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."
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The jury weighing whether Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes deserves to die has reached a decision.

The decision is expected to be read at 5 p.m. (7 p.m. ET).

It is the same jury that convicted Holmes of 24 counts of first-degree murder and 140 counts of attempted murder last month in the July 20, 2012, massacre at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora. The jury deliberated less than 13 hours before reaching that decision.

Since then, the jury has moved quickly through two prior decisions in the trial's penalty phase, taking a few hours to vote that there were substantial "aggravating factors" to consider the death penalty, and that the defense's arguments against execution didn't outweigh those factors.

For the final decision, the jury deliberated for less than seven hours, starting on Thursday afternoon and continuing through Friday.

If the jury decides against the death penalty, Holmes will get life in prison without parole.

Twelve people were killed and 70 were injured in the attack.

During the trial's penalty phase, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler told the jury that Holmes deserved to die. "For James Egan Holmes, justice is death,” he said.

Defense attorneys argued that Holmes suffered from schizophrenia and he was legally insane when he carried out the attack. The jury rejected that defense in finding Holmes guilty.

In the penalty phase, Holmes' lawyers said it would be inhumane to execute a man who suffered from mental illness.

"The death of a seriously mentally ill man is not justice," defense attorney Tamara Brady said.

If Holmes is sentenced to death, he would become the 4th person on Colorado's death row.

Of the 31 capital punishment states, Colorado ranks near the bottom in executions. There's been only one in the modern era of the death penalty — Gary Lee Davis, put to death in 1997 for kidnapping and murdering a 33-year-old woman.

Of the three now on death row, one was granted a reprieve and appeals are pending for the other two.