AURORA | Nobody in the Aurora theater shooting lost as much as Ashley Moser did.
She walked into the theater that night with her 6-year-old daughter Veronica while pregnant with a second child.
When she woke up in a hospital a few days later, Veronica was dead, Moser had lost her unborn child and was paralyzed from the waist down.
But on Wednesday, Moser, the last witness to testify in the sentencing phase of James Holmes’ trial, said she lost even more than that.
“I don’t know who I am anymore,” she said, fighting back tears as she testified from a special wheelchair-accessible witness stand. “Because I was a mom when I was 18 and that’s all I knew how to be. And now I’m not a mom.”
Moser was one of several relatives of the victims to testify Wednesday and Tuesday in the final phase of the trial. In closing arguments scheduled for Thursday afternoon, prosecutors are expected to ask the jury to sentence Holmes to death for killing 12 and wounding 70 in the July 2012 attack.
Holmes’ defense team did not cross examine any of the witnesses called in the third and final phase of sentencing.
Karen Teves, whose son Alex was killed in the theater, said she and her family were in Hawaii the night of the shooting.
The family’s property there was important to them and they planned to retire there, but later trips brought back too many memories of the horror from that July morning.
“We had to sell the property and abandon that dream of retiring there. I just — I can’t go back,” she said.
Cierra Cowden, who was 17 when she went to the theater that night with her dad, Gordon Cowden, said her father was a patient and dedicated man.
“He was always patient with us even when we weren’t patient with each other,” she said. “It’s selfish to say but I just miss him being my dad.”
After his death, she said she and her siblings are closer in some ways, but further apart in others.
“I just feel like my family is broken,” she said.
Jerri Jackson, whose son Matt McQuinn was killed in the theater, said his death had a ripple effect on her family, leaving her husband, father and other sons forever changed.
Her father used to jokingly refer to himself as “Mr. Wonderful” and even had name tags with the title printed on it at church.
After the shooting, when people brought up the playful title, her dad balked at it.
“He’d say, ‘No, we buried Mr. Wonderful in July,’” she said.