Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Monday, July 20, 2015


            On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside of a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. The sole suspect, James Eagan Holmes, was arrested outside the cinema minutes later.

            In the 2013 Blog Post, we heard from the victims’ families and survivors of the shooting and in this blog post, we will hear from survivors who want James Holmes to be executed.

Twelve were killed and another 58 were injured at the hands of a heavily armed madman at the midnight showing of "Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012. The mass shooting suspect is 24-year-old James Holmes. The number of lives taken makes it one of the largest mass shootings in American history. Among the dead are a 6-year-old girl, an aspiring sportscaster, and three young heroes who took bullets to save their girlfriends lives. Take a look back as we remember those whose lives were cut short by this tragedy ... (SOURCE: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/colorado-shooting-victims-gallery-1.1120112)

Local survivor says Colorado shooter should get death penalty

A North Carolina-native and his wife, who survived that massacre, went back to Colorado, and were in the courtroom for the verdict.

Thursday, July 16, 2015 11:20PM

James Holmes was found guilty Thursday of killing 12 people and wounding 70 other movie goers in Aurora, Colorado in 2012.

A North Carolina native and his wife, who survived that massacre, went back to Colorado, and were in the courtroom for the verdict.

"You can't put it behind you, but it puts closure on him getting justice," said Derrick Poage. "He didn't show no facial... he didn't cry. He didn't even seem to care. No sympathy at all."

Poage and his then-girlfriend, Naya Thompson, survived the massacre. In a 2012 interview shortly after the shooting, Poage said they barely got out with their lives.

"People were saying 'Help me,' but it was mostly just screaming, loud men and women, and children crying. It was terrifying," he said.

Poage is from Hope Mills, where he ran high school track. He was spending the summer of 2012 at Thompson's home in Aurora, before going to college. He and Thompson are married now.

In a telephone conversation Thursday from Colorado, Poage said they still talk about that horrible night when they literally jumped up and ran for their lives.

"I hear all those screams, the screams, the crying, then running out, seeing everybody. Me and my wife running out of there," Poage said. "Thank God we got out, because so many did not."

Poage said his wife cried when she heard the verdict. He said they are not death penalty proponents, but feel it's justified in this case.

"She feels like he should get the death penalty, and I do lean that way too because of all the harm that he caused," he said.

Poage said he and his wife won't be in the courtroom for Holmes' sentencing. They have to fly back to their home in Wilmington this weekend.

However, Poage said since that 2012 shooting he wakes up every morning thankful that he and his wife got a second chance. It's a second chance others in that Colorado theatre didn't get that awful night.

This combination of photos provided by their families shows seven of the 12 victims in the Friday, July 20, 2012 Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting. Top row from left are Jonathan Blunk, Jesse Childress, Gordon Cowden, Jessica Ghawi, and bottom row from left, John Larimer, Micayla Medek, Alex Sullivan. (AP photo) (SOURCE: http://www.komonews.com/news/national/A-look-at-the-lives-of-12-Colorado-shooting-victims-163352386.html)

Survivors want Batman shooter executed

Centennial, Colorado - After all 165 guilty verdicts were read and Colorado's movie massacre gunman was taken back to a cell to await his fate, many of his victims rejoiced and said James Holmes must be executed for justice to be done.

Survivors and their loved ones smiled and hugged outside the rain-swept courthouse on Thursday evening, after Holmes was convicted of killing 12 people and wounding 70 inside a Denver-area theater. The third anniversary of the rampage will be this Monday.

“As soon as we heard the first 'guilty' we knew the other dominoes were going to fall,” said Tom Sullivan, 60. His son Alex, called Sully by his friends and co-workers, had been celebrating his 27th birthday with friends at the cinema when Holmes killed him and the others in a hail of bullets.

“We're part of the way through this and ready for the next step,” Sullivan, 60, told Reuters.

That next step starts on Wednesday when the trial enters the sentencing phase. Jurors will hear more weeks of testimony, then decide whether Holmes should be put to death by lethal injection or serve a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

“I hope to do everything I can to see this guy's privileges are taken away and he no longer gets to breathe the sweet air that Coloradans get to breathe,” Sullivan said.

Asked if he wants to see Holmes executed, Sullivan replied: “Yes. Absolutely.”

Also outside the Arapahoe County Justice Center was Marlene Knobbe, 79, grandmother of slain college student Micayla Medek, 23. Knobbe said she was “thrilled” with the verdict.

“But I'll wake up tomorrow, and he's still alive, and that's not right,” she said. “I want him to die.”

For Sullivan, Knobbe and others forever affected by the massacre, Thursday's unexpectedly quick verdict ended years of worrying whether a jury might buy Holmes' insanity plea.

But after hearing from hundreds of witnesses and seeing thousands of pieces of evidence during the almost three-month long capital trial, the nine women and three men on the panel returned guilty verdicts after just about a day and a half of deliberation.

Holmes, 27, remained expressionless, hands thrust into pockets throughout the hour it took for Judge Carlos Samour to read “guilty” after all 165 charges. In the packed public gallery behind the defendant, some victims celebrated quietly, embracing and clapping each other on the shoulder.

During the penalty phase, jurors will consider aggravating factors, such as the murder of a child, the youngest victim, six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan.

They will also hear mitigating factors presented by Holmes' court-appointed attorneys, who could even call the gunman's parents, Arlene and Bob.

The process is expected to last until late August, when the jury will decide if Holmes should be executed for one of the worst mass shootings in recent US history.

Prosecutors rarely call for the death penalty in Colorado. Currently there are three inmates on death row, and only one death-row inmate has been executed in the state in nearly 50 years.

Jansen Young, a survivor who was wounded in the shooting and whose boyfriend was killed, said she would accept it if the jury gave Holmes life in prison. But she said she was pushing for the death penalty because it was what her boyfriend Jonathan Blunk, 26, would have wanted.

Also outside court, Sandy Phillips watched some of the survivors leaving, including one being pushed in a wheelchair. Her 24-year-old daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was in the theater that night and died after being hit by several of Holmes' bullets.

“We're very happy that this animal, this monster, will never see the light of day,” Phillips said.

Katie Medley: James Holmes deserves death penalty
Family relieved by guilty verdict
By Sarah Rose
Posted:   07/17/2015 01:18:34 PM MDT

Aurora shooting victim, Caleb Medley, left, has a laugh with Katie in a photo made before the shooting. (/ Photo courtesy of the family)

Katie Medley, the first person who testified in the James Holmes trial, said she was pleased with the verdict, but brokenhearted with the reason why so many families were at the courthouse in the first place.

Holmes, 27, was found guilty Thursday of killing 12 people at an Aurora movie theater in July 2012.

Medley's husband, Caleb, was shot in the head by Holmes while they were watching "The Dark Knight Rises." Her husband continues to receive medical treatment.

"We all believe he got the verdicts he deserved," Medley, of Cañon City, said. "When I heard the first 'guilty,' we knew there was going to be many more 'guilty' after. We all felt really relieved. We've been dealing with this for a very long time."

She said while the verdicts were being read, she was in a separate courtroom because the other room was completely full.

"We were mostly focused on the judge and hearing the verdicts, but as far as I know, there wasn't a lot of emotion from (Holmes)," Medley said.

She said she isn't able to recall how long her testimony was.

"I was nervous about testifying, but during opening statements, it was hard hearing everything altogether, (so) testifying felt really good (because) it could help everybody get justice," Medley said.

"They were asking us about the night of the shooting. They weren't able to go into background or a whole lot into the aftermath."

She said her husband also was glad he was able to testify.

"He was ready for everything to be over, and he was ready to move on," Medley said. "He wanted (Holmes) to see him and know what he did to him."

She said Holmes deserves the death penalty.

"I think that's what all the families want in the case." Medley said. "There's not a place on this earth for (Holmes)."

She said she is thankful for her family every day.

"We're so blessed that we still have Caleb and got to bring Hugo into this world safely," Medley said. "A lot of people there didn't have the same fortune that we did."

Aurora shooting victim Caleb Medley, in wheelchair, his father Otis, behind him and wife Katie, to his left, and other members of the family leave the Arapahoe County Justice Center on Thursday in Centennial. James Holmes was found guilty on all 165 counts against him in Aurora theater shooting trial. (Helen H. Richardson / THE DENVER POST)

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