James Holmes' Parents' Open Letter Begs For Their Son's Life To Be Spared

The July 20, 2012 shooting inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured dozens is one of the most gruesome mass shootings in American history. Two people who haven't gone a day since then without reliving the nightmare are Robert and Arlene Holmes, the parents of the shooter, James Holmes. Jury selection for James' trial begins in late January next year, and now his parents are making an emotional statement on their son's behalf. James Holmes' parents wrote an open letter pleading to have their son be spared of the death penalty — which is what prosecutors are seeking — emphasizing their son's severe mental illness.

They're hoping, at the very least, that James will get life in prison instead of execution.

Last week, 9,000 jury summonses were sent out for the James Holmes trial, which is the most Colorado has ever seen for a criminal case. Out of the 9,000, the court needs to select 24 eligible jurors — 12 jurors and 12 alternates. Sifting through that many people to choose 24 qualifying jurors, ones who would not be staunchly opposed to the death penalty will surely be a lengthy and labor-intensive process. It's a process that Robert and Arlene are hoping to avoid.

One of the main arguments they make in their letter, which was obtained by the Denver Post, is that a lengthy trial "will cause everyone to relive those horrible moments in time, causing additional trauma." By sentencing James to an institution, or even life in prison, there would be no need for such a trial.

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Another main point in the letter is their son's mental illness. The Holmeses write:

They also point out that the events of July 20, 2012 are an isolated incident.

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Because of his mental illness, they stress a mental institution would be the best place for their son.

But if that's not possible, then James's parents urge the prosecutors to consider life in prison.

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Ultimately, they say, it would be desirable for everyone if a long and high-profile trial can be avoided. It's impossible to imagine how the victims' families must feel, but for Robert and Arlene, they haven't gone one day without thinking about the people their son hurt two years ago.

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