James Holmes' parents try to persuade jury to save him

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The defense is trying to save the life of the gunman convicted of murdering 12 people in a Colorado movie theater. On Tuesday, James Holmes' father took the stand in the sentencing phase of the trial.

This was the moment for James Holmes' family to, literally, plead for his life. His father, Robert Holmes Jr., was questioned by defense attorney Tamara Brady.

She showed baby pictures and videos of a grandmother giving 5-year-old Holmes a haircut, all an effort to soften the image of the mass murderer.

"Do you still love him?" Brady asks.

"Yes," Robert Holmes Jr., answers.

"Why?" questions Brady.

"Well he is my son. And we always got along pretty well, and he was actually really an excellent kid," Robert Holmes Jr., responds.

Before the shooting, he says he had no inkling of his sons mental illness.

"Prior to July 2012 had James ever confided in you the suicidal or homicidal thoughts he was having?" Brady asks.

"That was something he never expressed," answered Robert Holmes Jr.

"Did you have any idea he was having disturbing images in his head?" the attorney asks.

"No I had no idea," Robert Holmes Jr. responds.

His mother Arlene will also testify. Deeply religious, she has published a book of her prayers since the shooting.

Including one saying, "You lived so that we could understand you. And others could study you. And learn to prevent future tragedy."

Yesterday, it was his younger sister Chris telling defense attorney Rebekka Higgs that her feelings have not changed for her brother.

"And do you still love him?" Higgs asked.

"I still love him," Chris answered through tears.

The jury must decide if James Holmes' mental illness means he deserves a sentence of life without parole. But if not, victims and families will then testify and the jury will then decide if he gets death.