Listen
About KGNU

Aurora Shooter James Holmes sentenced to life in prison

Posted: August 7, 2015 at 7:08 pm by , in Breaking News, Capitol Coverage

Jurors in the trial of Aurora Theater shooter James Holmes have sentenced him to life in prison for killing 12 and injuring 70 others in 2012. Even though he was spared the death penalty – the trial is likely to once again spark debate over whether Colorado should even have the penalty on the books.

Now that the trial is over, the issue of whether Colorado should have the death penalty is likely to start all over again. As Bente Birkeland reports – Democrats at the statehouse have tried to repeal it three times over the past decade…
The last attempt to repeal the state’s death penalty was two years ago and backed by former Representative Claire Levy (D-Boulder). “I think it’s immoral, it’s ineffective. I think it doesn’t belong in a modern system of  justice. I don’t think we impose it in a fair impartial way,” said Levy. “People don’t get executed. They sit waiting the outcome for decades.”But despite widespread support the measure didn’t go far in the legislative process. Levy says the timing was off given the tragedies in Sandy Hook and Aurora – as well as the politics in play.“That was also the session in which all the gun legislation was coming forward. It was the session in which civil unions passed. It was a session in which I think a lot of people had fatigue in taking on yet another very, very, large social issue that had all these implications.”The House Speaker backed the repeal, but what really sealed the measure’s fate was that the Governor had reservations. Levy said he felt a change in policy of this magnitude required more public discussion. And that was enough for RepresentativeLois Court (D- Denver) to vote against it. She joined one other Democrat along with Republicans to defeat the bill in the House Judiciary Committee. Court said she didn’t want her colleagues on the full House floor to have to vote on the bill if it was ultimately going to be vetoed.