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Who are James Holmes' Public Defenders? A Quick Overview

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on July 20, 2015 10:56 AM

Daniel King and Tamara Brady just finished what should be one of the hardest trials of their lives -- and they still don't have time to take a break. The duo's main client, James Holmes, was found guilty last Thursday of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others after he opened fire on crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012. Having been unable to convince a jury that Holmes was not guilty due to insanity, King and Brady's main job is now to keep Holmes off death row.

But even as they represent one of the most infamous killers in recent history, Holmes' public defenders have largely flown under the radar. Holmes has a total of five PDs working his case, but these two stand out. Who are Daniel King and Tamara Brady, public defenders for James Holmes?

Dedicated Public Defenders

King and Brady have long careers representing criminal defendants. King has spent his entire 25 year legal career at the Colorado Office of the State Public Defender. Brady began her public defender career in Weld County, Colorado. She was once moved to tears in the courtroom after a client she believed to be innocent was found guilty, according to the Denver Post. For years Brady kept the client's picture on her desk.

Well-Paid Public Defenders

The pair are some of Colorado's top public defenders and have salaries to match. Though it's nowhere near the income of a BigLaw partner, Holmes' defense attorneys bring in about $160,000 a year, slightly more than the judge in the case, according to a review of trial costs by Yahoo!. Of course, those salaries are just a drop in the bucket in an otherwise extremely expensive capital trial. It cost $20,000 to print notices for 9,000 prospective jurors, for example, and about $200,000 to pay $50 a day to each of the 25 jurors.

Specialists in Capital Cases

Both King and Brady specialize in representing defendants facing the death penalty for gruesome crimes. Brady once represented a man accused of killing his girlfriend by dragging her behind his car. King previously represented Sir Mario Owens, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a witness in another trial.

Owens' case has continued to haunt King, not only because his client was sentenced to death. Last year, while defending Holmes, King faced accusations that he offered ineffective counsel to Owens, in a bid to get Owens a new trial. King agreed that he was negligent, saying that his office lacked the resources to adequately represent Owens -- though most viewed the admission as an attempt to prevent Owens' execution, more than anything else.

We'll have to wait and see if similar tactics will come in to play with Holmes. Having found him guilty, the jury now must decide whether to sentence him to death.

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