Jurors are returning to court a few hours later than the regularly-scheduled start of the day in order to allow the attorneys and Judge Samour to finalize instructions. Closing arguments will take place today at 11:30 am MT/1:30 pm ET in the second part of the penalty phase. This is where jurors will decide if the evidence of mitigation outweighs the aggravating factors. They must be unanimous in this decision. The defense evidence took about a week to present during which jurors heard from Holmes’s parents and sister, family friends, former teachers, camp counselors, colleagues, and more. It takes only one juror to believe that the balance tilts in favor of mitigation for Holmes to receive a life sentence.
In other news…
University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing is set to be arraigned today on murder charges in the shooting death of Samuel DuBose, 43, on July 19, 2015 during a traffic stop for failure to have a license plate on the front of his car. The shooting is captured on a body camera Tensing wore. It shows what appears to be an unjustified shooting by Tensing. He’s facing 15 years to life for murder. (Without the body camera, I suspect that it would have been hard to bring charges.)
Scott Peterson is back in the news. The briefs have now been filed in his latest appeal with the California Supreme Court. The most recent filing by his appellate team asserts, again, that the late judge who presided over the trial made fatal errors in the case requiring that Peterson’s convictions be thrown out and a new trial ordered. In addition to the appeal, there is a separate effort to get Peterson off death row and out of prison pending appeal–a long shot which is likely NOT to happen. (The appellate briefs include an appeal by Peterson, a response by the California Attorney General, then a reply brief by Peterson. The latter is what made news in the past few days.) A new trial is also a long shot but you never know what the California Supreme Court may do… A decision is months away. Peterson was convicted in late 2004 of murdering his wife Laci and unborn son Connor two years earlier. He was sentenced to death row at San Quentin in March 2005.