Police testimony during the trial showed Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight screening of the movie and sat in the front row.
Victims and relatives then flooded the hallway and hugged. They signed the pole and gave it to John Larimer’s father.
Samour added: “In the end what the defendant did is unacceptable”.
The prosecution had asked a jury to sentence Holmes to death for the murders, but on August 8 they decided to spare his life. “If there was ever a case that warranted the maximum sentences, this is the case”, Samour told the court as he read out the sentence.
The defense had tried to argue that Holmes’ rampage was attributable to mental illness and that that fact should be taken into consideration during his sentencing.
James Holmes has been sentenced to twelve consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. A death sentence required a unanimous jury verdict.
Jurors rejected Holmes’ insanity plea, convicting him of murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 others when he opened fire on a packed theater in suburban Denver on July 20, 2012.
Prosecutors emphasized Holmes’ elaborate planning for the attack.
Holmes stockpiled guns and ammunition and mapped out the Aurora theater complex to determine which auditorium would allow for the most casualties.
The judge said people could focus on the free food and medical care Holmes will receive.
“I do hope that the maximum penalty will be imposed against James Eagan Holmes for the crimes he committed against humanity”, said Carli Richards, who was wounded in the shooting.
At 48 years per victim of first degree attempted murder, and because the sentences must be served consecutively, James Holmes is being sent to prison for over 3,000 years.
Armed sheriff’s deputies kept the audience separated from Holmes as he stood at the lectern, his arms and legs shackled, listening without reaction as Samour pronounced sentence.
“It is nearly impossible to comprehend how a human being is capable of such acts”, Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr.
“Now that this is over, I have to go home and live with all that emptiness, and yet somehow be happy with life going on”, she said. Addressing family members and the public who were disappointed Holmes wasn’t sentenced to death, Samour pointed out that the case ended Wednesday, rather than spending the next decade in appeals, forcing survivors to be repeatedly re-victimized.
Holmes told a court-appointed psychiatrist that he attacked the theater to improve his self worth, and that he expected people would remember his name.