Jury in Colorado theater killer’s sentencing reaches verdict in 2nd phase

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(CNN) — Jurors have reached a verdict in the second phase of sentencing for James Holmes, who shot and killed 12 people and injured scores more in 2012 in an Colorado movie theater.

Under Colorado law, the jury can move death penalty proceedings forward to a third phase, or end the death penalty deliberations and sentence Holmes to life in prison without parole.

The verdict will be read at 12:30 p.m. MT (1:30 p.m. CT).

Holmes was convicted of 165 counts of murder last month in an emotional day in court for the family and loved ones of the dozen people he shot to death in an Aurora, Colorado, theater in 2012.

Jurors began deliberating Thursday on whether to continue death penalty proceedings against Holmes or sentence him to life without parole.

Prosecutors had argued that the jury should press forward with death penalty proceedings to a final, third phase under Colorado law. Holmes’ attorneys urged the jury to give Holmes a life sentence and end the months-long trial.

His attorneys have said that his schizophrenia mitigates the capital crimes of which he was convicted.

The lawyers’ arguments came midway through a sentencing hearing that asks the jury to make a milestone decision about how Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 70 more in a movie theater massacre: Did the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors beyond a reasonable doubt?

Three dozen witnesses have testified during this sentencing phase, including James Holmes’ parents and sister.