Summerville native inside Aurora movie theater reacts to guilty verdict

Published: Jul. 17, 2015 at 4:08 AM EDT
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AURORA, COLORADO (WCSC) - A Summerville native who escaped uninjured from the Colorado movie theater shooting in 2012 said she is "very relieved and happy" with the guilty verdict of James Holmes.

Hali Jenkins said she's tried to distance herself from the months-long trial of Holmes.  He was found guilty Thursday of first degree murder in the deaths of 12 people he killed in July of 2012.

Jenkins was celebrating her 35th birthday at the midnight viewing of The Dark Knight Rises inside of the Century multiplex in Aurora, Colorado, when Holmes entered the theater, dispersed tear gas, and began shooting.

Jenkins said her date pushed her to the ground, and then grabbed her and ran during a break in the shooting.  They both escaped unhurt.

"Three years was a long time to hold up my health for a verdict," Jenkins said. "But this will be closure for a lot of people."

She said she had received text message from friends across the country following the verdict.  She has lived in Aurora for the past seven years.

Jenkins said she has undergone therapy following the shooting, and has returned to watching movies inside theaters.  An avid movie-goer, Jenkins said her first movie following the shooting, was "a comedy, in the middle of the day, surrounded by friends."  She said she has also since returned to the Century multiplex where the shooting occurred.

"Mentally, I feel good," she said.  "I will forever be effected, but I don't feel like my life is hindered by fear."

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