The owner of the Aurora movie theater where 12 people were murdered in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings is not to blame for the attack, a jury decided Thursday.
The decision is the first in a trial against theater chain Cinemark stemming from the 2012 shooting, which also wounded 70 people. It means that Cinemark will not have to pay money to any of the survivors of the shooting or relatives of those killed in it who filed suit against the company in state court. The victims argued Cinemark’s security failings helped enable the attack.
A separate case against the theater filed in federal court is still pending and is scheduled for trial in July.
“The community has spoken,” Cinemark attorney Kevin Taylor said after the verdict was announced. “Its conscience has been heard.”
The jury of five men and one woman deliberated for about four hours before reaching the decision. The verdict was read in the same Arapahoe County courtroom where the fate of the gunman was decided less than a year ago, but it lacked the same emotion.
The verdict was correct. Unless America moves permanently to a police state, in which every citizen is the object of suspicion and subjected constantly to unreasonable search and seizure, culpability for such outrages must lie completely with the perpetrator.