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Quiet victims at peace with Colorado gunman's sentence

larimerCENTENNIAL, Colorado--When the Colorado gunman's defense lawyer rose to make her closing argument and the other families of the murder victims of James Holmes walked out of the courtroom, Scott and Kathleen Larimer stayed in their seats.
  Their 27-year-old son John was among the dozen killed in Holmes' movie theater rampage near Denver three years ago. While other victims' relatives had no wish to hear a plea for the shooter to be spared the death penalty, Scott Larimer said the retired couple never considered leaving.
  Holmes was sentenced on Friday to a mandatory life sentence in prison after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision in favor of execution. Often sitting side-by-side in the half of the public gallery reserved for the victims' families, the Larimers were a constant presence throughout the 60-day trial.
  "If the jurors were in there, my wife and I were in there," Scott Larimer told Reuters in an interview a day after the verdict.
  The couple moved temporarily to Colorado from their home in Illinois so they could be in court each day. "We wanted to know everything that happened on July 20, 2012," he said.
  Seventy people were also wounded when Holmes donned a helmet, gas mask and body armour, threw a teargas canister and then opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle, shotgun and pistol inside a crowded midnight screening of a Batman film. John Larimer, the fourth generation of his family to become a U.S. Navy sailor, worked as a cryptologist at the nearby Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, a Denver suburb.
  Described by friends as a movie buff, he had bought a cape and a Batman T-shirt to wear when he went to see "The Dark Knight Rises" at the Century 16 multiplex that night with his girlfriend, Julia Vojtsek, and two Navy comrades. When the gunfire erupted in the dark, Vojtsek testified during the trial, Larimer saved her life.
  "He grabbed my head and pushed me to floor," she told the jury. "He was lying on top of me, protecting me."
  Larimer was shot twice in the chest and abdomen. His fellow sailors, Bear Omundson and Greg McDonald, described how they tried to pull their friend out of the theater during a lull in the shooting. They had to run without him when the gunfire started up again.
  "That was an agonizing choice they had to make, to leave a buddy behind," said Scott Larimer.
  He turned 66 on July 16, the day Holmes was convicted by the jury on all 165 counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and explosives charges stemming from the massacre. His lawyers said he was severely mentally ill.
  Larimer said he and his wife are at peace with the automatic life sentence imposed on the killer. "We were more concerned with the impact on the other families and prosecutors (who wanted the death penalty)," he said.
  Their son was the youngest of five children.