Aggravating factors were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury says
Next, defense attorneys will have a chance to present mitigating factors
Jurors found James Holmes guilty of 24 counts of first-degree murder
The death penalty remains on the table for Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes after a new verdict in the case Thursday.
Jurors unanimously found that prosecutors proved aggravating factors beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning Holmes remains eligible for the death penalty.
Next, the penalty portion of the trial will move to a second phase, giving Holmes’ defense attorneys the chance to present mitigating factors as they make a case for the jury to spare his life.
Last week jurors found Holmes guilty on 24 counts of first-degree murder in the July 2012 massacre.
On Thursday, the jury found that prosecutors had proven four aggravating factors for each of the 12 victims, including that Holmes committed the murders “in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.”
The sentencing phase of the trial began Wednesday and is expected to last a month.
Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 70 others when he opened fire in a crowded movie theater showing “The Dark Knight Rises” in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
It was one of the United States’ deadliest mass shootings.
The jury – nine women and three men – quickly rejected his insanity defense last week, finding that although he is a diagnosed schizophrenic, he knew what he was doing that night, and that it was wrong.
CNN’s Ralph Ellis and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.