Homicide

Victims conflicted over death penalty for Colorado theater gunman; 'I left it up to the Lord'

  • FILE - In this April 22, 2015 file photo, Aurora movie theater shooting survivor Marcus Weaver counsels a client at New Genesis Transitional Community for the Homeless, which Weaver co-manages, in Denver. Weaver has talked openly for years about forgiving the man who shot him, killed his friend and caused untold suffering. As a Christian who is philosophically opposed to capital punishment, he said, finding forgiveness was “a no-brainer.” But by the time James Holmes was convicted in the chilling 2012 attack on a Colorado movie theater, Weaver had changed his mind. “I feel the sentence that he may get, which is the death penalty, is the only penalty that fits the crime that he committed that night,” Weaver said. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

    FILE - In this April 22, 2015 file photo, Aurora movie theater shooting survivor Marcus Weaver counsels a client at New Genesis Transitional Community for the Homeless, which Weaver co-manages, in Denver. Weaver has talked openly for years about forgiving the man who shot him, killed his friend and caused untold suffering. As a Christian who is philosophically opposed to capital punishment, he said, finding forgiveness was “a no-brainer.” But by the time James Holmes was convicted in the chilling 2012 attack on a Colorado movie theater, Weaver had changed his mind. “I feel the sentence that he may get, which is the death penalty, is the only penalty that fits the crime that he committed that night,” Weaver said. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 14, 2013 file photo, shooting attack survivor Marcus Weaver prays alongside others during a weekly church service inside a warehouse at Metal Movers, in Denver. It was his faith, Weaver says, that helped him cope with the loss of a friend in the Colorado movie theater attack in 2012. But after talking openly for years about forgiving the man who shot him, killed his friend and caused untold suffering, Weaver says he has changed his mind, and favors the death penalty for James Holmes. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

    FILE - In this July 14, 2013 file photo, shooting attack survivor Marcus Weaver prays alongside others during a weekly church service inside a warehouse at Metal Movers, in Denver. It was his faith, Weaver says, that helped him cope with the loss of a friend in the Colorado movie theater attack in 2012. But after talking openly for years about forgiving the man who shot him, killed his friend and caused untold suffering, Weaver says he has changed his mind, and favors the death penalty for James Holmes. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 23, 2014 file photo, Lonnie Phillips, right, and his wife Sanday, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was killed by James Holmes in the 2012 Aurora movie theatre massacre, speak at a rally against gun violence in front of Republican Congressman Mike Coffman's office, in Aurora, Colo. Should Holmes be sentenced to death, Lonnie Phillips says he worries about the decades of appeals. “If I had my way, he would go to prison the rest of his life and not have to go through the appeals process where we have look at his face and hear his name again,” Phillips said. “We want him behind us.” (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

    FILE - In this April 23, 2014 file photo, Lonnie Phillips, right, and his wife Sanday, whose daughter Jessica Ghawi was killed by James Holmes in the 2012 Aurora movie theatre massacre, speak at a rally against gun violence in front of Republican Congressman Mike Coffman's office, in Aurora, Colo. Should Holmes be sentenced to death, Lonnie Phillips says he worries about the decades of appeals. “If I had my way, he would go to prison the rest of his life and not have to go through the appeals process where we have look at his face and hear his name again,” Phillips said. “We want him behind us.” (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)  (The Associated Press)

Marcus Weaver spent three years talking openly about forgiving the man who shot him. He didn't want to see James Holmes executed.

But by the time Holmes was convicted in the chilling 2012 attack on a Colorado movie theater, Weaver had changed his mind.

Now, Weaver says, the death penalty is the only just punishment for the mentally ill former neuroscience student who murdered 12 people and tried to kill 70 more.

The jury is set to begin deciding whether the 27-year-old Holmes should be sentenced to life in prison or death by injection. But Weaver's transition shows there are no easy answers, not even for those who most want to see Holmes punished.