Mother tells Colorado jury about ‘loving son’

AURORA, Colorado (WDTN) – Matt McQuinn’s mother re-lived what no parent should have to endure.

Jerri Jackson testified in a Colorado courtroom Wednesday about the son she lost when a gunman opened fire in an Aurora movie theater three years ago.

The jury is hearing from loved ones of victims as it considers whether James Holmes should die for his crimes.

12 people died that night as they watched a midnight showing of Batman. Matt died while shielding his girlfriend, Samantha, from the gunfire.  Samantha Yowler was wounded, but recovered.  Jackson says Samantha was so devastated that she could not go out into public for three months after the shootings.

Jackson spoke about the day leading up to that fateful when she spoke to her son.

Matt described how he didn’t want to miss work the next day after seeing the movie, so he thought he would drink an energy drink before hand.

She told the jury the she told her son to be careful. Matt’s response, “Nothing is going to happen, I love you Mom.”

Jackson says her son was planning to marry his girlfriend and had plans to move back home to Springfield.

“They would look like they were fighting, but they weren’t. They loved to play around that way,” she said.

She called her son, “a caring person who loved to live life to the fullest. When people were down, he would lift their spirits.”

Jackson herself talked about how her life changed the moment James Holmes opened fire. “I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. I tried to go back to work, but couldn’t handle it. It split my income in half. I’m on medication to deal with it.”

She said Matt loved to be the center of attention and had plans to dance down the aisle at his wedding.

When asked whether he got to do that, Jackson could only reply, “No, he did not.”

Holmes was convicted of 24 counts of first-degree murder, 140 counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of possessing explosives.

Jurors must decide whether Holmes will get the death penalty for the 2012 shooting rampage. The last round of closing arguments could take place Thursday. Deliberations could begin Friday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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