AURORA | James Holmes’ mother testified Wednesday that her son was never violent before he killed 12 and wounded 70 others during a July 2012 shooting at an Aurora movie theater.
“He never harmed anyone ever. Ever. Until July 20, 2012,” Arlene Holmes said.
Arlene Holmes was the last witness the defense called during the mitigation phase of Holmes’ sentencing hearing, during which the defense is trying to convince the jury not to sentence him to death.
She said she was especially shocked when she learned he used guns in the attack because the family never had guns and she didn’t think he knew how to use one.
Choking back tears, Arlene Holmes said she still loves her son.
“He has a serious mental illness, he didn’t ask for that,” she said.
In testimony that lasted the entire afternoon, Arlene Holmes discussed her son’s seemingly happy childhood, and the defense showed the jury home movies and pictures of James Holmes as a child.
When her testimony was complete, prosecutors opted not to cross examine Holmes’ mother.
The next phase of the trial is expected to include prosecutors calling relatives of the 12 killed in the theater as they try to convince the jury that Holmes should be sentenced to death.
The same jury that convicted Holmes of murder last month will decide his sentence.
The trial started in late April is scheduled to end in August.
Court is in recess until 11:30 a.m. Thursday.