Movie theater shooting jurors have 62 pages of instructions to follow while deliberating

Posted at 12:00 PM, Jul 15, 2015

Nine women and three men deliberating in the movie theater shooting trial have 62 pages of instructions to follow.

The 12 deliberating jurors were identified for the first time late Tuesday, after the judge read the instructions aloud and attorneys completed the presentations of their closing arguments. Their packet of instructions contains 30 individual entries, ranging in length from a single paragraph to several pages.

Download the jury instructions document from the court

Even single word in those 30 instructions were hotly debated by attorneys in hearings throughout the past several weeks. The topics include rules for the deliberation room, explanations of the 165 counts in the case and a summary of the not guilty by reason of insanity plea advanced by the defense.

"The vast majority of reversals on appeal come from jury instructions," 7NEWS Legal Analyst David Beller, explaining why the instructions were so carefully prepared.

James Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the 165 counts related to the mass shooting that killed 12 people and injured 70 others on July 20, 2012.

Samples of the 165 verdict forms were also published by the court Wednesday. Watermarked with the word "sample" they represent one count from each of the five kinds of charges in this case. 

Judge Carlos Samour used the samples in court Tuesday, to explain how the jurors need to complete the paperwork when they reach a decision.

Download the jury's sample verdict forms from the court

Two of the 12 deliberating jurors have connections to the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School, including one who survived that incident and another who is related to a survivor. Other notable members of the panel include an attorney, a former victim's advocate and a physicist who specializes in explosives and competes in marksmanship.

Learn more about the jurors with our interactive jury box

The seven remaining alternate jurors are also required to be in the court throughout the deliberation process, but are not allowed to have contact with the deciding panel.